Yesterday, a body of a slain young adult was laid to rest. A family mourned this painful loss. And a reeling community began to pick up the pieces and hoped for eventual healing.
Michael Brown's funeral wasn't just for his family. It wasn't even just for Ferguson. It was for the nation.
Yesterday, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) said this after the funeral: “This tragic event of Michael Brown — while as horrible as it is, and he should have never lost his life as an unarmed boy who had just graduated high school — it is providing the opportunity for us now to have a national discussion on what policies, laws and practice we need to change so we can improve going forward.” He's not alone in demanding change after this horrific tragedy.
This week, we've gained more insight into how and why St. Louis County, Missouri, has sparked this nationwide conversation on the state of American police. And none other than St. Louis County Police Officer Dan Page has helped explain everything.
Ah, where do we start? How about "warning the ladies" about "domestic violence stuff"? "Just shoot each other and get it done"? Did Las Vegas Metro Police actually take his advice earlier this month? Christy Mack's neighbors have been wondering why it took so damned long for Metro to respond to their 911 call. While they took their time, War Machine escaped to Simi Valley, California, while leaving Mack and Corey Thomas near death at her Las Vegas home.
Hold on, there's more. Dan Page also went into a tirade against "homosexual sodomites". According to Page, ICE should keep Marichuy Gamino in solitary confinement in a men's prison for daring to report her rape. According to him, Monica Jones deserved to be arrested for "walking while trans*". And perhaps he also doesn't mind Mia Henderson being taken from this earth way before her time.
He didn't even stop there. No, Dan Page also claimed President Obama wasn't born in America. He actually called himself "a killer". He repeated even more bizarre conspiracy theories.
Oh, and he gave this speech to the Oath Keepers earlier this year. Remember the Oath Keepers?
They're the Patriot Movement friendly militia who occupied Bunkerville and Mesquite during the height of Cliven Bundy's "Range War". They only left when sh-t became too real and they suddenly were under attack by fellow pro-Bundy militia groups.
Dan Page was one of the St. Louis County officers patrolling Ferguson during the height of the protests. He was the one who roughed up CNN reporter Don Lemon in front of a global audience. And even now, St. Louis County Police still won't fire him!
W. T. F?! And they're still wondering why so many in the St. Louis region have a hard time trusting the police? Perhaps they need to start looking in the mirror more often.
It's also important to keep in mind that this problem isn't limited to Missouri. We've seen shades of this here in Nevada as well. After all, Metro Police have often used excessive force on valley civilians (especially those living in inner city communities) while giving the Bundy Gang kid glove treatment and giving War Machine just enough time to escape the crime scene.
In so many ways, the Dan Page saga in St. Louis County illustrates why so many minority communities have trouble trusting the police. If police forces there, here in Southern Nevada, and elsewhere want to turn the page, they need to clean house. If they want to regain our trust, they must prove themselves trustworthy. We can't truly turn the page on this sorrowful chapter in American history until we see no more Michael Browns being shot, Monica Jones' being arrested, and Christy Macks left for dead.