The Spirit of Lester Cowens … er … I Mean, Darren Wilson

 Well-wishers sign a poster in support of Wilson during a rally for him. (Huy Mach/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Via The Washington Post, three paragraphs from the team of Carol D. Leonnig, Kimberly Kindy, and Joel Achenbach that, to the one, just do not seem surprising, yet, to the other, well, we would rather not have read.

The small city of Jennings, Mo., had a police department so troubled, and with so much tension between white officers and black residents, that the city council finally decided to disband it. Everyone in the Jennings police department was fired. New officers were brought in to create a credible department from scratch.

 Well-wishers sign a poster in support of Wilson during a rally for him. (Huy Mach/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)That was three years ago. One of the officers who worked in that department, and lost his job along with everyone else, was a young man named Darren Wilson.

Some of the Jennings officers reapplied for their jobs, but Wilson got a job in the police department in the nearby city of Ferguson.

While it is true we might wish to not read such paragraphs, well, reality is not so accommodating. And the thing is, no matter how annoying or discouraging or depressing or (poor you!) oppressive of the rich, Christian, white man it might seem, it is also real. We cannot un-read it. Neither can we ignore it.

Greg Messmer, racistIt’s worth mentioning that this is rather quite similar to what happened in Tulia, Texas, insofar as it should suffice for those who do not recall the name to simply explain that a disgraced police officer was hired by another department in the good ol’ boy network and ended up running a bogus investigation that saw ten percent of the African-American population in the panhandle town of Tulia, Texas arrested in a bad drug sting. Indeed, they even gave that cop an award. No, really. The guy who engineered the Tulia busts in 1999 got an award for being the state’s best narcotics officer the next year.

And this is what people like Greg Messmer (right) are giving their voices to.


Leonnig, Carol D., Kimberly Kindy, and Joel Achenbach. “Darren Wilson’s first job was on a troubled police force disbanded by authorities”. The Washington Post. 23 August 2014.

American Civil Liberties Union. “Racist arrests in Tulia, Texas”. 30 June 2003.

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