|1st Amendment Foe & Child Wrangler Officer Justin Cosma-(Photo/Huffington Post)|
So kudos to the Huffington Post for publicly identifying and naming Justin Cosma, the Ferguson police officer seen confronting and arresting Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly and Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery the night of Wednesday August 13th.
While a number of journalists from different media outlets were videotaped or photographed being tear-gassed by members of law enforcement, no incident (aside from Michael Brown's shooting) garnered more attention than the arrests of Reilly and Lowery.
They were both just sitting in a McDonald's charging their cell phones and discussing the protests when heavily-armed police (led by Cosma) wearing tactical SWAT gear with their names and badge numbers intentionally concealed walked in, ordered everyone out of the restaurant and demanded ID's from both reporters.
The reporters subsequent assault (Lowery, an African-American, was slammed against a glass wall and a soda fountain) and arrests quickly made global headlines and they were soon released after the story blew up on Twitter.
Today's Huff-Po story also reveals that Justin Cosma is also the subject of an ongoing lawsuit that stems from a 2010 incident when he was with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in which he and an officer named Richard Carter allegedly confronted a 12-year-old boy who was at the end of his driveway getting the mail out of his family's mailbox.
The shirtless 12-year-old was eventually hogtied by Cosma and Carter after the incident escalated, leading to injuries to the child and a pending lawsuit filed in Missouri Federal Court in 2012. It says a lot about officer Cosma.
But it also paints a pretty disturbing picture of the types of officers in Ferguson and St. Louis whose recent behavior is tarnishing the reputations of the members of law enforcement who treat people with respect and operate within the confines of the law.
Kudos to CNN too. Have you heard about St. Louis County officer Dan Page who pushed CNN anchor Don Lemon on live TV? Turns out Page is a right-wing Birther, and his bizarre misogynist, homophobic, racists rants got him suspended after they were released on video and shown to his superiors by CNN.
I watched some of the video highlights of Page's rants and he's a cultural dinosaur with a death-fetish and a huge chip on his shoulder who's mind has been warped by hate. The idea that this man carries a gun and a badge is troubling and makes a mockery of the image of a trained law enforcement professional.
The positive thing is that mainstream media outlets like Huffington Post and CNN are starting to use their considerable influence and reach to show men like Cosma and Page for who they are; deeply disturbed individuals prone to violence and using their badge as a shield for their hate and behavior that is simply inexcusable for anyone charged with enforcing the law in a modern society.