Fury in Ferguson built on missing information

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The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, stands with the The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, stands with the parents of Michael Brown, Lesley McSpadden, right, and Michael Brown Sr., left, during a news conference outside the Old Courthouse in St. Louis Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Jeff Roberson

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Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and

Darren Wilson.

Now that wasn't so hard, was it?

Police in Ferguson, Missouri, could have saved their community six long nights of grief if they'd only come out early and explained what they knew about the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown, including the identity of the officer responsible.

Instead, the missing information was greeted with withheld trust, and things spiraled rapidly out of control. Fuller and franker information wouldn't have stilled the anger or ended the debate. But it could have shifted the whole tone of the week, flooding the shadows of growing suspicion with the bright light of knowledge and facts.

Why do people in power have such a tough time learning that?

The details will come out eventually. They always do. Nothing that happened the first day will get any better with time. It all just festers, fueling the rumors, gnawing at the trust.

As the mayhem in Ferguson rumbles violently on, it's a lesson leaders everywhere can learn. Say what you know. Take the heat now. Withholding will only make it worse.

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WAIT, DON'T TELL

 

1. They'll get tired of asking.

@Newsday

2. They'll understand we know best.

3. They'll move on to another story.

4. They'll trust us more if we keep out mouths shut.

5. This way we won't have to lie.

 

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THE NEWS IN SONG: Who's been fooling you? "Tell the Truth" by Eric Clapton, tinyurl.com/telltruth

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