Ron DeSantis rehashes Ferguson, Missouri, police violence in condemning ‘phony controversies’
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 5/5/23-Gov. Ron DeSantis during a news conference after the 2023 legislative session concluded, Friday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'There was no 'Hands up, don't shoot."'

Gov. Ron DeSantis revived a long-ago incident in Ferguson, Missouri, dispelling “phony controversies” and “panics” put forth by the media about police brutality in the wake of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Accepting endorsements from nearly five dozen Sheriffs in Tampa, the 2024 presidential candidate revisited an incident from 2014 to condemn the press and extol police officers mired in controversy.

“The media goes through these panics where they try to create these phony controversies. You know, they did the thing in Ferguson, Missouri, years ago where you had the guy, and all the Left in the media was saying that he put his hands up and was yelling, ‘Don’t shoot.’ And then the cop just mowed them down. That was the narrative that they had put out and it got a lot of protest. It whipped a lot and honestly, like I understand that because that would be wrong if that happened, that would be wrong,” DeSantis said.

“Well, what actually happened? Eric Holder, Attorney General under (Barack) Obama, did the investigation and they said that was a lie, there was no ‘Hands up, don’t shoot.’ And that the officer acted responsibly given the circumstances of the case and yet the media took it. They ran with it, politicians indulged it.”

DeSantis contended that he doesn’t “get caught up in these phony narratives” and is willing to “call them out on the BS.”

While AG Holder contended that “facts (did) not support the filing of criminal charges against Officer Darren Wilson in this case,” falling short of “prosecutable conduct on the part of Officer Wilson,” his remarks couldn’t be confused with exoneration of the Ferguson police department. Indeed, Holder alleged that “deep distrust and hostility often characterized interactions between police and area residents” amid a use of aggressive police tactics for “revenue generation.”

“But seen in this context — amid a highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided practices — it is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg,” Holder wrote.

“In a sense, members of the community may not have been responding only to a single isolated confrontation, but also to a pervasive, corrosive, and deeply unfortunate lack of trust — attributable to numerous constitutional violations by their law enforcement officials including First Amendment abuses, unreasonable searches and seizures, and excessive and dangerous use of force; exacerbated by severely disproportionate use of these tactics against African Americans; and driven by overriding pressure from the city to use law enforcement not as a public service, but as a tool for raising revenue.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Dave

    October 5, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    Desantis himself is speaking out of the side of his smirk….the evidence wasn’t “prosecutable”…doesn’t mean it was a clean kill…it allows our Governor to foreshadow the mistakes made by the enforcement procedure when hands were up and no weapon was found.

  • My Take

    October 5, 2023 at 9:34 pm

    Wòuld Racist Ron condemn even a Klan lynching if he thought the victim were quilty of something?

  • David Simpson

    October 6, 2023 at 9:33 am

    DeSantis is a Nazi and a racist everybody knows it. He has no business talking about something he has no idea what happened and a whole another state and a whole another time. What a jackass he’s the one that was selling covid-19 vaccines to the rich before any poor people could get a hold of it.

  • TJC

    October 6, 2023 at 11:32 am

    DeSantis says he doesn’t get caught up in phony narratives. He just creates them himself: he’s never met a Florida mugging victim, he’ll send special forces into Mexico to fight cartels, he has instilled a sense of pride in Floridians that wasn’t there before he became governor, on day one as President he will (too many “day one” promises to list here), etc.
    His entire campaign relies on phony narratives.

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