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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Parchments
The Factor Rundown
Live From Ferguson
Juan began Wednesday's show with a live report from Fox News correspondent Mike Tobin, who has been in Ferguson all week. "We now understand that a police car that was set on fire during the demonstrations had an AR-15 weapon in it," Tobin reported, "and that weapon is now missing and presumably in the hands of the demonstrators. We have seen people carrying knives, we have heard gunfire, and we have seen a lot of Molotov cocktails. One of the things we saw last night was a demonstrator trying to start a Molotov cocktail and setting himself on fire in the process." Tobin added that Wednesday evening was still relatively calm in Ferguson. "Tonight it's just wet and miserable, you have to feel sorry for the guys in the National Guard who are here standing sentry in front of City Hall. We are now in one of those situations where there are more cameras than demonstrators."
Police Strategy
Some protesters tried to storm City Hall in downtown St. Louis Wednesday afternoon. Juan spoke with St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson about that incident and confrontation. "That was the only protest today thus far," Dotson said. "That group thought it was okay to march on City Hall and they tried to force their way in past the marshals. They wanted to be disruptive, but we made a couple of arrests, dispersed the crowd and everyone has gone home. So things are calm right now in the city. We're going to keep people safe and we're doing the best job we can with our police officers and the National Guard."
Inciting Violence?
After Monday's grand jury announcement, Michael Brown's step father Louis Head was caught on tape urging protesters to "burn this b**** down." Juan analyzed that inflammatory outburst with radio talk show host McGraw Milhaven and attorney Stacy Schneider. "The video is absolutely chilling," Milhaven declared, "and then superimpose that with what happened shortly thereafter. The authorities would give him a lot of leeway, but at some point you have to conclude that words matter. If you're yelling that we have to burn it down, and then an hour later Ferguson is burning, you have to seriously question whether he was helping to incite a riot." But Schneider expressed doubt as to whether Head's words warrant prosecution. "You have to look at the context. It was offensive and crude, but he had just heard that there was no indictment. You can't automatically assume that his words meant that people should loot and commit arson." Juan concluded that Head's outburst was way out of line: "If I were prosecuting this case, I would say that Louis Head, who has prior felony convictions, was intending to incite a riot."
Darren Wilson speaks
Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson has given ABC's George Stephanopoulos his version of what transpired in his confrontation with Michael Brown. Juan discussed the interview and the grand jury process with law professor Jonathan Turley. "Defense attorneys such as myself," Turley said, "have criticized grand juries for not seriously reviewing evidence. But this was a case where the prosecutor did not put a thumb on the scale. The grand jury actually looked at the entirety of the evidence and there was a great deal of evidence supporting the officer. If this was handled like a normal grand jury in one day, it very likely would have been a very fast decision not to indict." Juan took issue with Turley's conclusion: "You think the grand jury process was a good one in Ferguson, but I'm thinking it is open to so much criticism from people who think the system was rigged to defend the police officer. There was no one there to challenge Officer Wilson's account."
Who Organized the Protests?
Is anyone behind the protests in Ferguson? Juan posed that question to reporter Eric Owens and civil rights activist Niger Innis. "On Monday night there was clearly a visceral response to the grand jury," Owens theorized, "and people were just incredibly angry. But on Tuesday night, to the extent that there was violence, I think it was something organized by people who have been here in Ferguson for a few months." Innis hinted that some protestors may have been paid and supported by radical organizations. "A group of ministers who are trying to bring peace told me that money was being spread around by people who have an agenda that is quite different from theirs. They see a hidden hand that is spreading money around. You have folks like the New Black Panther party that see a stage, and you have folks from the civil rights industry, folks like Sharpton and Jackson who want to maximize this for their own special interests."
Racial Divide
Juan asked Hilary Shelton of the NAACP why his organization was not more involved in preventing violence in Ferguson. "The NAACP has been on the ground since day one," Shelton insisted, "and our new president went to Ferguson the day after the violence began. The NAACP has membership units in St. Louis County and statewide throughout Missouri, we have been working from the very beginning to stop any kind of violence." Shelton also criticized St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch for how he handled the grand jury proceedings. "The way he behaved in this case raised major concerns. The NAACP called for Mr. McCulloch to be recused early in the process. His father was killed by an African American and his behavior over the years has been contemptuous to African Americans."
Another Live Report From Ferguson
Juan concluded Wednesday's show with another live update from Ferguson, this time from FNC's Steve Harrigan. "This was the spot where much of the violence and looting was going on," Harrigan reported, "but it's dramatically different just two days later. This store was being looted Monday night, tonight it's dead quiet. And I feel safe now, two nights ago I did not feel safe. That's due in large part to the Missouri National Guard. But the overall mood here is one of worry - people want to know if the violence is over or if it's just in a holding pattern because of the National Guard."
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