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Ferguson and Beavercreek Police Chiefs Both Resign Amidst Protests of Controversial Police Shootings

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This week has seen the shocking announcements and rumors of resignation from police chiefs in Ferguson, Missouri, and in Beavercreek, Ohio alike. Both cites have been embroiled in controversy after police officers in each city shot and killed African American men who were unarmed. Now, nearly every major media outlet is claiming that Ferguson Chief Thomas Jackson will step down, following his former insistence that he would not. We have yet to hear back from Chief Jackson about this, but Fox, CNN and others are saying that his resignation is imminent.

In Ferguson, the shooting of Mike Brown, 18, has led to the town becoming a nationally-recognized name. Protests have continued virtually non-stop for months, since Brown was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson on August 9.

The shooting in many ways initially overshadowed the killing of John Crawford, 22, in Beavercreek, Ohio by Officer Sean Williams, which happened only days before Brown was killed. While tensions boiled over in Ferguson, many remained unaware of the shooting of John Crawford, which Counter Current News was the first on the scene to report. Before national or local media arrived at the scene of the police shooting of Crawford, our citizen journalists were in the area, interviewing witnesses and Walmart employees.

Eventually Crawford’s murder began to gain increased local and national attention, with Anonymous eventually initiating #OpJohnCrawford to help activists tackle police brutality in the area, and demand police accountability. Groups ranging from the Ohio Student Association, to Cop Block and Ohio Open Carry, to religious organizations like the Hashlamah Project turned out protest after protest to demand justice for John Crawford.

Only two days after protesters swarmed the streets of Beavercreek last weekend, the Beavercreek Police Chief announced that he will be stepping down, after only two and a half years on the job.

Just after activists took flooded the public space outside of the Police Department, many of them took to the large intersection at Dayton-Xenia and Fairfield Rd. The busy intersection saw a massive protest that have members of Cop Block, Ohio Open Carry, Ohio Student Association, and many other organizations taking all corners of the intersection and the median to hold signs, chant messages of justice from a bullhorn, and pass out “Wanted” flyers of Officer Williams and Ritchie.

For his part, Chief Evers said his retirement plans are unrelated to these protests and the shooting of John Crawford, but for anyone paying attention, this seems to be the Chief’s only “exit strategy” after having refused even the three simple, and moderate demands of protesters demanding police accountability.

To illustrate this point, Evers has only been acting as the Police Chief since 2011, hardly an expected tenure before retiring. Chief Evers can say whatever he wants to save face, but his short time on the job before announcing retirement, following this scandal speaks louder than anything he could ever say.

Just one day following Chief Evers’ announcement, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson has said that he will step down as well. His resignation is thought to be part of the effort by city officials to reform the Police Department.

Local government officials claim that this is the result of talks between local, state and federal officials.

Under the tentative plan, the St. Louis County Police Chief will be asked to take over management of Ferguson’s police force after Chief Jackson steps down.

“Nobody in my chain of command has asked me to resign, nor have I been terminated,” Chief Jackson said, much like the statement made by Chief Evers in Beavercreek on Monday. Only last month, just weeks after the Justice Department announced it was investigating the Ferguson Police Department, Jackson said that he would not step down despite demands from the community.

It would seem that those demands are beginning to be heard, but critics say this is just a larger scale version of the classic “good cop/bad cop” police tactic: where the aggressive “bad cop” is followed by a softer, gentler “good cop,” but all with the same ends of manipulating a member of the community. What happens next remains to be seen, but it certainly seems like both departments and cities believe that a change in chiefs will quell the protests that have shown no signs of stopping in each respective city.

(Article by Moreh B.D.K. and Jackson Marciana)

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