Former Sheriff: Transparency Could Have Helped Defuse Ferguson Tensions

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Ferguson protests

Protests unfold in Ferguson late Monday, August 18, 2014. (Courtesy: Eliott C. McLaughlin/CNN)


As unrest continues in Ferguson, Missouri despite the presence of the National Guard, current and former leaders around Sacramento are speaking out about the shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Mayor Johnson was complimentary of the relationship his city’s police force has with the public as officers across the country continue to be at odds with their citizenry.

“We want to be an example of what’s happening good here. I want to thank our chief of police for his leadership.  We’ve got a long ways to go, but we’re committed in Sacramento,” Johnson said.

Protests have turned more and more violent in Ferguson since Michael Brown was shot to death by a white police officer on Aug. 9.

The incident has sparked claims of general racism, targeting of black boys and the militarization of local police.

Former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness says much of the tension could have been diffused if the police department there had communicated openly with the public from the start instead of withholding information.

But, he also wants the public to understand how Brown might have approached officers just stopping him for jaywalking.

One of Brown’s friends has confirmed, they both had been involved in a robbery before the shooting.

Much has been made of the fact that officer who eventually killed Brown did not know about the robbery when he shot him to death.

“It doesn’t matter what the officer knew at the the time. If Mr. Brown believed he was being stopped because he’d just committed a strong arm robbery, that increases the likelihood that he may have had a violent attitude or an elevated attitude toward that officer’s stop,” McGinness  said.

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