Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson Verdict

It seems that the rule of law has won, yet people are still rioting.  Thoughts?

CNN Grand Jury Announcement
CNN Ferguson Smolders
NPR No Charges

122 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's hard to prosecute cops.

Sean said...

That.

And when you treat a grand jury like a trial jury, that's the result you're going to get.

Anonymous said...

It really was the decisions of the prosecutor. Grand juries are the creatures of the prosecution. If the prosecutor has made the decision not to seek an indictment, that's also a decision not to get one.

--Hiram

Laurie said...

I think in many cases involving possible wrong doing by cops (i.e. shooting, using a taser) the police force could acknowledge that a better
decision should have been made by the officer, maybe give or her a written reprimand in his file or something. Though in this case, while I really don't know the details, a dead unarmed teenager indicates to me that a mistake was likely made.

I would have a hard time convicting a cop of a crime in almost all of these cases.

Laurie said...

Evidence supports officer’s account of shooting in Ferguson

maybe the mistake made, if there was one, was shooting the young man too many times.

John said...

I thought being twice the legal pot limit was supposed to make one less aggressive. I was very curious what the toxicology report would say since Michael seemed very aggressive when he was brazenly robbing the store. I had thought meth or something else.
CNS High on Pot

NYT Documents Released

Has anyone heard what the vote was in the grand jury? Unanimous or other?

John said...

Sean,
So you would have recommended sending it to trial even though people were unsure if a crime had even been committed?

Especially if you were aware that Michael had clearly was high and had wrestled with the police officer at the vehicle.

If Michael had been a big white kid who was acting agressively before being shot, would you have also recommend skipping the Grand jury? Rationale?

Laurie,
I agree I will never understand why officer are trained to shoot to kill. Especially in this case.

Wilson's Story

Laurie said...

my family discussed the protests/riots over dinner tonight. The oldies (myself, husband, and mother) thought the victim had actions that contributed to his own death. I would be more likely to join the protests (in spirit) if he were a more innocent victim.

I do think there is much racism in law enforcement/criminal justice I just don't think this case is the best example of injustice. As my older son just said, peaceful protests are an effective way to bring attention to the larger issues.

John said...

Mayor Giuliani was being interviewed on a Sunday morning show. He noted that 93% of Black men are killed by Black men...

Why aren't protesters out dealing with this much worse and more deadly issue?

Besides if they resolved that... maybe people wouldn't as nervous when walking down the road with a Black man walking toward them.

Sean said...

"So you would have recommended sending it to trial even though people were unsure if a crime had even been committed?"

A grand jury's role is to determine if there is probable cause to charge someone with a crime, not to determine if the person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The failure of the "prosecutors" to meaningfully push back against any of the witnesses' statements made it impossible for the jurors to determine if there was probable cause.

As an example, take a look at the testimony of "Witness 10", who the county prosecutor quoted in his Monday evening statement as saying Brown bull-rushed Officer Wilson. Witness 10's original statement to police and his grand jury testimony have several critical discrepancies, none of which were questioned by prosecutors -- among them, the fact that Witness 10 originally reported that Brown was walking on the sidewalk instead of in the street and that Witness 10 was 100 yards away from the action. Before the grand jury, Witness 10 said Brown was walking down the middle of the street and he was 50 yards away.

Sean said...

"Mayor Giuliani was being interviewed on a Sunday morning show. He noted that 93% of Black men are killed by Black men...

Why aren't protesters out dealing with this much worse and more deadly issue?"

84% of white men are killed by white men. What's the point? That it's OK for a few black kids to get killed by white cops?

Besides, there are plenty of protests and efforts to stop black-on-black violence already going on.

John said...

I just found these... It seems I was not the only one watching on Sunday. I think we will both see what we want to in these reviews of the comments and stats.
WP 93%

NBC Giuliani

Regarding the Grand Jury, a group of citizens heard the facts of the case and decided there was not "probable cause".

A man forcefully robbed a store, walked brazenly down the middle of the street, was double the "legal limit" on an illegal drug, wrestled with a police officer (gun powder residue) and ended up shot.

This was not an execution, it was struggle gone wrong. Yes Wilson could have driven away and come back with reinforcements. Is this what we want to encourage our police to do?

Again...
If Michael had been a big white kid who was acting agressively before being shot, would you have also recommend skipping the Grand jury? Would you support all of these protests? Rationale?

John said...

Did you folks ever see Crash?

If you didn't, you should. It is interesting and depicts the complexity of these issues very well.

Sean said...

"Regarding the Grand Jury, a group of citizens heard the facts of the case and decided there was not "probable cause"."

This was not a typical grand jury. A grand jury does not normally hear defense evidence.

"If Michael had been a big white kid who was acting agressively before being shot, would you have also recommend skipping the Grand jury?"

I am not recommending skipping the grand jury. Please try to follow along.

jerrye92002 said...

Just my opinion, but I firmly believe that, regardless of what the grand jury concluded, the same amount of riot and senseless violence would have ensued because there are people looking for any pretext to behave criminally. Release of all the evidence, as promised, isn't going to make a dime's worth of difference, either, because facts and truth and justice don't mean a thing to these thugs.

Also my opinion, but based on a report of the autopsy reconstruction of the bullet trajectories, it seems obvious that: 1) Brown was not shot in the back, 2) Brown did try to take and fire the cop's gun, 3) Brown was not in a "surrender posture" and 4) Brown was in fact close to and rushing towards the officer when the fatal shot was fired.

Granted that prosecutors are not required to present exculpatory evidence to a grand jury, as this one did, but they are not required to go to a grand jury at all. This one did, I am sure, to "spread the blame" for the result, made necessary by the race-baiters like Obama, Holder and Sharpton. Without those heavyweight trouble-makers, the riots probably would have been vastly diminished.

Laurie said...

I think the best thing that could come out of this case would be for police forces to review / revise their policies on the use of excessive and deadly force. I am still sketchy on the details but my impression remains that Brown was shot too many times. His distance from Wilson at the time he went down is fuzzy for me as well.

In similar case officers could at least be reprimanded for shooting a suspect too many times or not calling for back up.

As I have the day off today I have been reading on line a bit and find the essays by Jamie Bouie interesting:

Rudy Giuliani Doesn’t Understand Crime As Well As He Thinks

Michael Brown Wasn’t a Superhuman Demon

Why it was inevitable that Ferguson officer walked free

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, that same evidence shows that the first 4 shots were ineffective, to the FRONT of Brown's arm (i.e. not in surrender position) and would not have stopped him. Police officers, especially in self defense, are trained to fire until the threat stops. The second or two it takes for a bullet to actually "stop" an assailant (especially one charging forward) and the time it takes for the officer to recognize that, could easily result in two or three more shots being fired, but in this case, the only fatal shot was the final one.

John said...

"Most cops who kill innocent people aren’t charged"

"Giuliani’s other assertion—that white police only patrol black neighborhoods because of high crime rates—is also wrong. "

I find it hard to take the Slate article seriously... And don't have time for the others right now.

First of all, Michael was not innocent. He was a criminal that was high on pot and attacked a police officer.

Secondly, I am certain that given the tight budgets that Minneapolis has, they would be happy to cut their police force in half. They don't employee all those officers to torment Black people. They hire them to ensure that all people feel safe in that community.

jerrye92002 said...

BTW, evidence shows that Wilson DID radio for backup well before the altercation started, and they arrived "seconds later."

And if I recall the statistics, 50% of all crime is done by blacks, and 95% of black victims are at the hands of black offenders. Someplace it was recently written that this problem ends when we end the cultural decay of the black community, where criminality is seen as power, welfare a right, unwed motherhood a sacrament and education something to be avoided.

Sean said...

"Someplace it was recently written that this problem ends when we end the cultural decay of the black community, where criminality is seen as power, welfare a right, unwed motherhood a sacrament and education something to be avoided."

No, no, no.

Crime is not a "black" problem. Crime is -- by and large -- a poverty problem.

There have been a number of studies that show that urban crime rates much more closely track to income levels than to what race is predominant.

We also have to remember when using crime statistics that there is a huge variance in the policing of largely African-American urban areas.

In those areas, you see huge numbers of drug-related offenses, while violent crimes are 2x as likely to go unsolved. In other words, the police are focusing on crimes where it is easier to "show results", but by letting the other crimes go unpunished they encourage the behavior to continue.

Laurie said...

It seems to me there is growing awareness among white people of racism in law enforcement and criminal justice, which is necessary to make improvements / make society more just.

My family across generations accepts that racism is still a major factor.

John said...

Then let's take race out of it.

We need to improve the impoverished communities "where criminality is seen as power, welfare a right, unwed motherhood a sacrament and education something to be avoided."

Ever try to solve a crime when people are hesitant to share what they know? I would think that explains a lot of the unsolved crimes.

Anonymous said...

The reason the grand jury didn't bring back an indictment had nothing to do with the evidence presented. Without a doubt, the evidence was sufficient for an indictment. The grand jury didn't indict because the prosecutor didn't ask them to indict.

--Hiram

Sean said...

"We need to improve the impoverished communities "where criminality is seen as power, welfare a right, unwed motherhood a sacrament and education something to be avoided."

You are assuming that those cultural attributes are accurate.

Sean said...

Anybody who wonders about why some folks might not trust the police ought to watch the Tamir Rice video.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/video-shows-cleveland-cop-shoot-12-year-old-tamir-rice-n256656

Laurie said...

Thanks for a link about this story

Video Shows Cleveland Cop Shoot 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice Within Seconds

As usual I am making a snap judgement about what happened and to me this seems like more of a wrongful death than Michael Brown. I think sometimes officers who are "trigger happy" should lose their job.

I am just glad that when I mishandle a situation the result is something minor like a trashed classroom.

John said...

What do you think an officer should do if anyone goes for the gun at their waist?

This again is why we have the Grand Juries... To decide if anything criminal occured, or if it was just a tragic chain of events. Of course some people apparently have little faith in their peers who serve on the grand juries.


Here are some links about poverty...
G2A Why are poor people poor

NYT What makes people poor

The Atlantic Poor People

Wiki Poverty in America

jerrye92002 said...

"Crime is not a "black" problem. Crime is -- by and large -- a poverty problem." -- Sean

And since poverty is largely a black problem (or at least disproportionately so), ipso facto crime IS a black problem.

Can we at least concede that this Ferguson incident began with Michael Brown stealing some cigars and punching a store clerk, then obstructing traffic, assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and finally charging at an armed police officer? These crimes compounded into a situation in which a perpetrator would be shot regardless of race. The only question I'm asking is why race is being used as an excuse for the original crimes?

jerrye92002 said...

"I think sometimes officers who are "trigger happy" should lose their job." -- Laurie

Officer Wilson had never fired his weapon before, except in practice. And officers who are a little LESS "trigger happy" end up dead. There SHOULD be a very high bar before we judge what snap, life-and-death decisions get made by those putting their lives on the line for us.

jerrye92002 said...

"You are assuming that those cultural attributes are accurate." -- Sean

Do you have any evidence they are not? Overstated and overgeneralized, perhaps, but statistics don't lie. Unwed motherhood in the black community is twice what it is for whites; most welfare recipients are black, and black students are disciplined and/or fail in school in disproportionate numbers. Black teen unemployment is two or three times what it is for whites, leaving them plenty of time for trouble. Combine all of the factors and it's easy to see why crime might be higher in these areas, and why police presence might and probably ought to be higher in response.

Laurie said...

After talking with my niece yesterday, who is is highly convinced of the guilt of Wilson, I have done some more reading and revised my snap judgement. I now think Wilson badly mishandled the situation and deserves to be fired, although I still wouldn't convict him of a crime.
I think some sort of public hearing of the evidence would be appropriate.

This retelling of discrepancies in prime witness accounts is very interesting:

Michael Brown spent his last day with his friend Dorian Johnson. Here's what Johnson saw.

Officer Darren Wilson's story is unbelievable. Literally.

I find it very interesting what different groups believe about what happened and who is guilty. There is the black/ white split, the liberal / conservative split, and in my family a young / old split (although I now agree with the young adults)

Laurie said...

I came across this by accident and don't spend all my time reading about the Michael Brown shooting, but I found it interesting so I will pass it along:

What do the newly released witness statements tell us about the Michael Brown shooting?

John said...

I am guessing those younger people are feeling people, not engineers, scientists or lawyers.

Michael had gun powder residue on him. This means he was way to close to the officer when the gun went off. And the science shows that he was only shot in the front.

For a people who love CSI, some of us want to ignore tne science, facts and data.

John said...

Per CNN, we now have a 6 year veteran police officer and his wife are hiding and fearing for their lives and likely looking for a new line of work. Just because some racist people think race was a factor in this unfortunate incident.

Now who is the victim?

I hope he gets a big severance package and movie deal to offset the losses this cost him.

Maybe next time the Ferguson cops will just ignore the high suspect who just robbed a local store. It seems that is what some folks want.

Laurie said...

I think people reach different conclusions based on the their perspective much more than the evidence (which is inconclusive).

Brown's friend and Wilson agree the first shot was fired during the tussle at the window so the gun residue on Brown proves little.

It seems more believable to me that Brown stopped running and turned around because he was afraid of getting shot, not because he was starting to charge Wilson.

Anyhow, Brown's friend's account, which seems more believable to me is also consistent with the evidence.

Your perspective/belief about what happened is no more solidly based on the evidence than people who believe in Wilson's guilt (based on testimony from other witnesses.)

It's like a rorschach test.

Lastly, at least Wilson is alive to move to another city and take up a new career. The price he is paying for his actions is sort of like vigilante justice. (or injustice depending on one's perspective)

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, I've looked at your items, and it only convinces me more that a) the only reliable "witness" is the physical evidence, and b) that the Michael Brown supporters have no interest in facts or truth or justice. It is people like Obama and Sharpton who are fueling this pure race hatred for their own evil purposes.

Again, we discover that the physical evidence says that Brown DID attack the officer and attempt to take his gun, that he was not shot in the back or on the ground (all wounds from the front) did NOT raise his hands in surrender (wounds to his arms from the FRONT), that he DID charge the officer (the blood trail from his wounded hand goes down the street and then comes back, and the fatal wound was to the top of his forehead), and that he did in fact attack a clerk and rob a convenience store shortly before, giving lie to the "gentle giant" story. He is also guilty of criminal marijuana possession, obviously, so this "getting ready for college" doesn't quite ring true, either. We can argue motivation or woulda/coulda/shoulda all the way around, but the facts are still the same and now two lives are ruined. Shameful.

John said...

Laurie,
This has to be the silliest statement. "evidence (which is inconclusive)"

A Grand Jury of 12 of our peers sat for days and days reviewing every story and piece of evidence available. Yet Sean and yourself want to claim that these people for some reason chose to lie and say that NO crime was committed that deserved to go to trial.

Apparently they only needed 9 of them to say a crime possibly occurred, then it would have gone to court. So these folks are apparently racist idiots and you folks know the truth of the matter. How can you show our peers so little respect?

It definitely amazes me how people want "law and order", and then when it occurs and they dislike the result. Then it is okay for the mob to try to lynch a police officer who has a good record.

It will be interesting if some Black mob does lynch him. Will folks like yourself want to prosecute them for racist / hate actions, or will you say that it was only fair and race was not an issue?

CNN Wilson Hiding

John said...

Laurie,
If a student accused you of improprieties and the situation had to go to a Grand Jury.

The Grand Jury after lengthy review decided that no crime occurred.

Would it be okay if the parents and school administration treated you like a pariah and bum rushed you out of your job?

Or worse yet if the Parents placed a contract to have you killed?

I figured that other public employees could relate to Wilson's situation better than me. It is interesting.

Anonymous said...

It really isn't a question of evidence, and the way and order it was presented. There was more than enough evidence to come back with an indictment, much more. The grand jury didn't indict because they weren't asked to indict.

--Hiram

John said...

Please explain why you believe this.

From my understanding they were asked to recommend No Charges, Man Slaughter, Murder, etc based on the facts and testimony presented to them.

jerrye92002 said...

Hiram is partly correct. The prosecutor would normally present only the evidence of a crime and exclude anything that might suggest innocence. For that matter, the prosecutor didn't need to go to a grand jury at all. As the old saying goes, a prosecutor "can indict a ham sandwich" if he chooses. In this case, the complete testimony and evidence was conclusive, that no crime occurred and no lengthy, costly and riot-tinged trial was going to change that. The prosecutor wisely took the unusual step of having a grand jury review, avoided the trial, and then took the unusual step of releasing all of the testimony and evidence to the public. NONE of that, of course, matters to thugs looking for an excuse to commit mayhem.

Anonymous said...

Please explain why you believe this.

Grand juries are the creatures of the prosecution. They do what the prosecutor tells them to do. It's quite clear this prosecutor didn't want to prosecute this case, and so the grand jury came back with no charges. Whether the case should have been prosecuted presents a different set of issues, but what is clear that the decision not to prosecute was made by the prosecutor.

--Hiram

Laurie said...

The bar to charge a police officer is very high. If I was on the grand jury I might have voted no charge, as Wilson's claim of fearing for his life/safety is reasonable (if you believe his version of what happened.) From the beginning of this thread I have maintained that i wouldn't convict him of a crime.

I am curious about the supposed blood trail that supports Brown running away and charging back, I have not read about this. I recall seeing something that Brown was 150 feet away when shot, which doesn't make him a very immediate threat. I have also read that the investigation into the shooting was botched.

Laurie said...

I looked into my question and found this in a NYT story:

"The distance from the front wheel of the officer’s S.U.V. to Mr. Brown’s body was 153 feet, 9 inches, an investigator said. Farther away from the car, the investigator showed with photographs, were two blood-spatter patterns — evidence that Mr. Brown was moving toward the officer, and the car, when he was killed in the second flurry of shots."

It doesn't mention how far Brown moved toward Wilson and could be consistent with a person who has been
shot staggering forward.

Also, it seems that Wilson was firing at the back of a fleeing suspect and just didn't hit him. I don't think there was cause to fire at someone running away.

jerrye92002 said...

Grand juries do NOT "do what the prosecutor tells them to do." They make an independent judgment based on the evidence presented to them by the prosecutor. In most cases, where there may be some question of whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial, the prosecutor will present only the prosecution's evidence (and leave the defense for the trial). In this case, the prosecutor chose to present all the evidence, no doubt to partly "share the blame" for what the total of the evidence showed did not warrant a trial.

As for the blood trail evidence, that was part of the evidence released; I got it from another website that had reviewed the material. If Brown was 120-150 feet away when he turned (I had heard 40-50), that might explain why officer Brown had time to fire so many shots and why so many of them missed, even with the time spent (as the officer claims) when he repeatedly warned Brown to stop and get down.

jerrye92002 said...

BTW, does anybody know how many shots the officer's weapon was capable of? Two in the car and 5 or 6 hit Brown, that's 7 or 8 total, there would have been none left to fire at Brown's fleeing self. It is also doubtful that the officer would have fired at a fleeing suspect at such a distance in a crowded area, with backup just seconds away. He stated his purpose in pursuit was only to "keep the suspect in sight" until that backup arrived, and only fired when the suspect turned and charged. Speculation is fine, but it has to match the physical evidence or it should be dismissed. Unless you are a troublemaker intending to run riot, then evidence doesn't matter.

Laurie said...

Wilson fired 12 shots. Fifteen witnesses say Wilson fired at Brown while he was running away. Five witnesses say he did not.

I am off to look for a new laptop and will argue the details of this case later.

Anonymous said...



The bar to charge a police officer is very high.

I don't know that the bar is very high. Prosecutors are very reluctant to prosecute police officers at least in deadly force cases, because no police officer will ever work with that prosecutor again. Getting convictions of police officers is incredibly difficult, which is probably a big reason why this prosecutor didn't seek an indictment.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

They make an independent judgment based on the evidence presented to them by the prosecutor.

Actually, no. They do what prosecutors tell them what to do. That's the function they serve.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

the prosecutor will present only the prosecution's evidence (and leave the defense for the trial). In this case, the prosecutor chose to present all the evidence, no doubt to partly "share the blame" for what the total of the evidence showed did not warrant a trial.

Sure. Only the prosecutor gets to present evidence before the grand jury, and he presents the evidence he chooses. It's pretty clear that a prosecutor who is presenting a defendant's case isn't serious about getting an indictment.

==Hiram

Laurie said...

"legal experts say the Missouri law governing police officers’ use of force is “more officer-friendly than that in other states.”

The law allows a police officer to use deadly force “when he reasonably believes that such use of deadly force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest and also reasonably believes that the person to be arrested a) Has committed or attempted to commit a felony; or (b) Is attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon; or (c) May otherwise endanger life or inflict serious physical injury unless arrested without delay.”

based on this I would not convict nor indict Wilson

John said...

"Actually, no. They do what prosecutors tell them what to do. That's the function they serve."

You are kidding, right ???

Why again would we spend the money and time convening them then?

Anonymous said...


Why again would we spend the money and time convening them then?

They are an effective prosecutorial tool. Witnesses can be subpoenaed before grand juries and required to testify, a huge deal for prosecutors. Ordinarily, people don't have to answer police questions, something that most folks don't realize. But people must testify before a grand jury unless they claim a privilege like the fifth amendment. People don't have rights before grand juries. The proceedings are secret, only the prosecutor gets to present a case, witnesses don't have a right to counsel. Grand juries just aren't some sort of independent probably cause finding body. As I said, they are creatures of prosecutors.

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

"Wilson fired 12 shots. Fifteen witnesses say Wilson fired at Brown while he was running away. Five witnesses say he did not."-- Laurie

And some of those witnesses were 3 blocks away, or got their information second-hand. And who, upon hearing gunfire, makes a conscientious effort to COUNT them, rather than ducking for cover?? Give me the physical evidence; witnesses are unreliable. OK, we know 6 shots hit Michael Brown, and there were two fired in the car. That's 8, and a standard service revolver holds 6. Some police semi-auto mags hold 8 or 10, the more common Glock holds 15. Who says he fired 12, and if so where did the other four go? Pretty sloppy shooting, IMHO. And if he did NOT hit Brown with them, what difference does it make? He SHOULD have kept shooting. Look at this from November 28:
http://townhall.com/political-cartoons/michaelramirez

jerrye92002 said...

"As I said, they are creatures of prosecutors."

Nonetheless, even with all the leeway allowed the prosecutor to make a case he might be unable to make in court, and even with excluding all exculpatory evidence, grand juries can and do return "no bill" quite frequently. If the prosecutor presents all the evidence, as was done here, one can infer that he doesn't want to go to trial, true, but again the grand jury gets to make that decision, including asking questions and weighing whether they have seen all the credible evidence or not. I just think it's hard to fault the prosecutor for going above and beyond in a search for truth and justice. Just because some people would violently disagree with "justice," that's what happens here. Remember, OJ walked. Did whites riot in the streets?

Laurie said...

Jerry, for someone who claims to have examined the evidence I am surprised you don't know the number of shots Wilson fired. It is 12 (which is undisputed.) I think that 75% of witnesses reporting that some of those shots were fired at a fleeing suspect is pretty significant (10 of the witnesses had no testimony regarding this.) Why are you so willing to totally believe Wilson who is trying not to be charged with a crime. There is no physical evidence to indicate when the shots that missed Brown were fired

jerrye92002 said...

I haven't examined all the 500 pages of evidence in detail, and was surprised when you seemed to know this particular fact, that had not been previously reported AFAIK. Not that it has any bearing on what happened, if true, since the only ones that matter are the ones that struck Brown. What do you think it proves?

jerrye92002 said...

Here's a review of the physical evidence.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/11/28/the-physical-evidence-in-the-michael-brown-case-supported-the-officer/

Laurie said...

Thanks for the link, Jerry

I think I am done with this topic. I still believe it was a wrongful death and the account Brown's friend gave of what happened is closer to the truth than Wilson's testimony.

I never did see the evidence sufficiently analyzed to disprove what his friend said happened. It seems to me that experts should have some insight into the whether the distance travel by Brown towards Wilson after he turned around was consistent with charging at Wilson or staggering forward.

Anyhow, I agree with Hiram that the prosecutor conducted the indictment/ presented evidence with the goal of no charges being brought against Wilson.

jerrye92002 said...

"I still believe it was a wrongful death and the account Brown's friend gave of what happened is closer to the truth than Wilson's testimony."

I can understand your confusion. But Brown's friend insisted Brown never approached the car, never went for Wilson's gun, and was shot in the back. The physical evidence clearly proves that all of this was a lie. Believe it if you want. On the other hand, the physical evidence is entirely consistent with officer Wilson's testimony.

As for "staggering forward," that is certainly possible, but the ME said that the head wound (at the top of the head) was the final, fatal shot, meaning that Brown was still charging the officer 1/2 second or so prior.

And considering all the evidence, would you have been happier if the prosecutor had done the usual stacking of the deck to get an indictment, only to go to a long, riot-smothered trial that came to exactly the same result?

Laurie said...

I am not confused. I don't think you have read Brown's friends account of what happened.

a wound at the top of the head is consistent with falling down due to being shot

jerrye92002 said...

I read portions of his friend's (aka accomplice's) account, if that's what you mean, and it is clearly disproven by the physical evidence. And again, the head wound may be consistent with falling forward, but it is FORWARD and is also consistent with an onrushing charge of the officer, a clear case of self defense in the line of duty. Again, Look at this from November 28:
http://townhall.com/political-cartoons/michaelramirez

In traffic accidents, Nebraska has what they call the "last clear chance law," meaning that the fault lies with the driver who had the last clear chance to avoid the crash. In this case, that would be the time at which Brown turned to charge the officer, rather than stopping as ordered. Regardless of what went before, that would have prevented the death.

Laurie said...

his friend's account has not been clearly disproven to me. I have not seen any analysis on how the evidence relates to the story which makes Brown a mostly innocent victim. The only thing that I have seen disproven is that people were mistaken when they thought they saw Brown shot in the back
(maybe the shot to the back of his arm could have happened while he was fleeing)

Anonymous said...

Why was the grand jury allowed to hear exculpatory or conflicting evidence?

==Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

"I have not seen any analysis on how the evidence relates to the story which makes Brown a mostly innocent victim."-- Laurie.

Oh, I guess that's where we differ. The story that he was an innocent victim has 3 or 4 parts, depending on who you listen to. First was that he was shot in the back. The ME says ALL shots entered from the front (and one exited the back of his arm). The second is that he had his hands up and was surrendering. But this posture would have required the shots to his arms to have been on an UPWARD trajectory (consider how tall he was), with entry to the back of the arms. All shots to the arms were downward and from the front. Consistent, by the way, with Wilson's testimony (and ME evidence) that Brown had his injured hand in his pants and his other "locomotive style." The third is that Brown was shot on the ground, execution style, but the spent cartridges were spread over about 75 feet or so of space, consistent with Wilson's account that he "backpedaled" as he fired at the charging Brown, rather than firing them all in one place. And finally, there is the story that Brown was "innocent" and never attacked the officer or reached for the gun. Brown's blood and DNA inside the police cruiser, and the presence of gunshot residue on the wound to Brown's hand, are pretty convincing to me. YMMV.

Here's what puzzles me: Surely there are cases where white police over-react and kill or harm or violate the civil rights of truly innocent black people. In a few cases, I am sure that is due to some latent discrimination, so why is it necessary to take an obvious CRIMINAL like Brown and try to make him the poster boy for a monstrous and violent campaign of grievance-mongering with no basis in truth and justice?

jerrye92002 said...

"Why was the grand jury allowed to hear exculpatory or conflicting evidence?" -Hiram

Hmmm, Idunno. Maybe an attempt to get to the truth?

Laurie said...

"the spent cartridges were spread over about 75 feet or so of space"

this is also consistent with Wilson pursuing a fleeing Brown and firing at him as he ran.

Your arguments persuaded me of nothing.
btw one shot was to the back of Brown's arm.

Anyhow, Brown's name was mentioned in my church tonight (in the context of violent police behavior/excessive force) and the thought I had as I sat there is, it is too bad there is no hearing where evidence could be presented/questioned by a Brown family attorney. If I was Brown's parent I would want to be able to publicly challenge Wilson's account of what happened and restore the image of my child, who may be guilty of robbery but was innocent of being a monster who assaulted a cop.

The hearing that was held was inadequate to determine the truth of what happened.

Sean said...

Here's how I think it went down, which is a combination of multiple witnesses' version of the truth.

Wilson tells Brown and Johnson to "get the f out of the street". Brown and Johnson respond with profanities of their own. When Wilson backs up the SUV at an angle to block the street, he nearly hits Brown and Johnson. So close to them, in fact, that when he tries to open his door, it can't open all the way without hitting them. Angered, Brown and Johnson shove it back at Wilson. Angered, Wilson reaches through the window and grabs Brown. They scuffle, with Brown punching Wilson in the face multiple times. Wilson attempts to draw his weapon, and Brown attempts to direct it away from him. After the gun is fired twice, Brown flees.

Wilson gets out, and fires a couple of shots, missing. Hearing the shots, and already wounded from the shot at the car, Brown stops and turns. He holds his hands out at his sides (not up -- multiple witnesses testified to Brown having this position) as if to examine his hand wound and aimlessly moves forward towards Wilson (not charging, as again most witnesses testified to), who continues to fire, striking Brown. Struck, Brown's hands come into his to his body, and he begins to stumble, leaning forward into the final shot that enters the top of his head (also consistent with multiple witnesses).

John said...

Now you did watch the robbery video. Correct?

Michael Brown was 6'4" and weighed 292 Lbs, and he was violent and threatening long before he met the officer.

Sean said...

Darren Wilson was 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, and a cop. The idea that he felt like "a five-year-old next to Hulk Hogan" is absurd. Some of Wilson's descriptions of Brown sound a lot like "Magic Negro" or "black brute" stereotypes.

John said...

Michael's supporters keep wanting to paint him as a nice well behaved young man who was relatively innocent in this unfortunate event.

Even after seeing the video where he grabbed what he wanted at the store and threatened the store clerk. And after his tox screen showed that he was very high at the time.

I am thinking based on the video, Michael was used to using his size to get his way and he was ready to fight. I don't think the officer needed to do anything significant to trigger the violent response.

John said...

I weigh about 210 Lbs (unfortunately), have you ever had interactions with a man that weighs 292 Lbs?

I used to have a football player friend who was about 260 Lbs. He was huge and very very like Hulk Hogan. Please note that Michael and Hulk weighed almost exactly the same...

Sean said...

I've had many interactions with people that size and larger. And, despite his size, Michael Brown wasn't an athlete.

Laurie said...

I agree with Sean's version about what happened, although I think a big guy like Brown punching Wilson in the face once or multiple times would have left more bruising. Wilson's bruise looks pretty minor to me, more like the result of a struggle than a well landed punch. I think Brown turned around to surrender (hands out indicates no weapon) and was shot several more times almost instantly.

One minor detail Sean left out of his plausible story is Wilson pursuing Brown. I think the blood evidence and shell casing evidence has not been thoroughly analyzed in the stories I have read.

Anyhow, I think the first story I read regarding the physical evidence was very biased towards Wilson's innocence of wrong doing and misled me in my initial snap judgement about what happened.

John said...

Sean,
Then you realize that if someone like that attacks you as you are sitting in your car, there are very few options open to you.

I am still puzzled at the idea that you want to treat Michael like an innocent little teenager that was gunned down in cold blood.

He was a criminal that attacked a police officer, it is interesting that it seems you think that is acceptable. Maybe there is a bit of anarchist in you after all.

And I do acknowledge that the officer could have waited for back up, possibly have driven off after being grabbed or overcome his adrenaline and stopped shooting. This makes sense as I am sitting safely at my desk. But once Michael chose to attack a police officer, I have no sympathy for him.

Though I do feel for the Parents, since their child's criminal acts led to his early death. Too many officers die in the line of duty, that is what needs to stop.

Laurie said...

although I know my links are mostly ignored here is another one that I found interesting, which was mentioned at my church this evening.

It says that "About twice a week, or every three or four days, an African American has been killed by a white police officer in the seven years ending in 2012" which is about the same rate African Americans were lynched in the previous century.

Maybe the peceful protesters have a good reason to be out in the streets.

Mike Brown’s shooting and Jim Crow lynchings have too much in common. It’s time for America to own up

Sean said...

"I am still puzzled at the idea that you want to treat Michael like an innocent little teenager that was gunned down in cold blood."

I've never said that Michael Brown was an "innocent little teenager that was gunned down in cold blood."

All I've suggested is that I think that if the prosecutor had treated this like a normal grand jury, they could have easily gotten an indictment against the officer -- leaving it appropriately up to a trial jury with two sets of competing advocates making their respective cases and cross-examining witnesses to determine if Wilson committed a crime.

"He was a criminal that attacked a police officer, it is interesting that it seems you think that is acceptable."

We don't know that Brown was the aggressor in the confrontation at the car.

Sean said...

"Too many officers die in the line of duty, that is what needs to stop."

Are you bothered by the wide racial disparity in the killings by police? A young black male is 21 times more likely to be shot by a police officer than a young white male.

http://www.propublica.org/article/deadly-force-in-black-and-white

What do you think of the Tamir Rice video?

Anonymous said...

Maybe an attempt to get to the truth?

If the purpose of grand juries is to get to the truth, why aren't both sides allowed to present their cases?

--Hiram

John said...

"We don't know that Brown was the aggressor in the confrontation at the car."

So you think that the police officer somehow reached out the window and grabbed Michael?

Now I am sure there was a verbal exchange when the guys would not immediately get out of the center of the road. However, Michael had to be the one who escalated it into a physical confrontation.

John said...

"why aren't both sides allowed to present their cases?"

Who are both sides? The prosecutor was present. It was the defense that was poorly represented.

John said...

Laurie,
I think comparing the hanging of innocent citizens and the shooting of people who attack or pull a gun on police officers is a poor comparison.
Gang Demographics

Anonymous said...


Who are both sides? The prosecutor was present. It was the defense that was poorly represented.

The prosecution and the defense. For some reason, the prosecution presented a defense, which although you claim they did poorly, was sufficient enough to persuade the jury not to indict.

This is highly unusual. Generally, the defense is not allowed to appear before the grand jury at all. And certainly the prosecutor is under no obligation to put the defense's case before the grand jury.

--Hiram

John said...

Please explain "the defense" that you think was presented.

All I have seen are facts, data and interviews.

Sean said...

"So you think that the police officer somehow reached out the window and grabbed Michael?"

Why is that difficult to believe, especially if Brown and Johnson were giving him profanity-filled replies?

"However, Michael had to be the one who escalated it into a physical confrontation."

Why?

Sean said...

"Please explain "the defense" that you think was presented."

For starters, Darren Wilson's presence in front of the grand jury.

Have you read his testimony? Do you think he was questioned as if he was the defendent in the case? The last question they asked him was:

"Is there something that we haven't asked you that you want us to know or think is important for jurors to consider regarding this incident?"

Is that "typical" of how prosecutors treat defendents?

Sean said...

John, what do you think of the Tamir Rice video?

Anonymous said...



Please explain "the defense" that you think was presented.


From news accounts, my understanding is that the prosecution presented exculpatory and conflicting evidence to the grand jury.

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

"this is also consistent with Wilson pursuing a fleeing Brown and firing at him as he ran."

That is correct, EXCEPT for Brown's blood being found 50 feet further away from the squad care than the point where he fell, meaning that he DID in fact turn and charge the officer. Combined with the wounds from the front, there is no reasonable interpretation of the facts that Brown was running away.

There is also no other explanation for the blood and DNA in the squad car except that Brown was attacking a police officer, and that is a serious crime as well as exceedingly poor judgment. However, I assume the Brown family can file a civil suit, just as Nicole Brown's family did in the OJ case, and get some measure of "justice," though I doubt they'll be successful.

Sean said...

"EXCEPT for Brown's blood being found 50 feet further away"

25 feet, not 50. For a guy of Mike Brown's size, that's about 8-10 steps.

jerrye92002 said...

I really like Sean's elaborate and "fair" scenario, and I can only find a couple things wrong with it. One is the distance from the last blood spot (away from the cruiser) and the location of Brown's body. In the short time of the incident, saying Brown "aimlessly moves" does not allow for him covering that distance in that short time. The other problem is that even if you suggest that Wilson continued to fire (at a surrendering suspect), striking Brown's arm and upper torso while he was surrendering arms down(TERRIBLE marksmanship from 10' away), the fatal shot was to the top of the head, inconsistent with somebody standing and waiting for the cop's approach.

Sean's explanation does have a bit of Occam's razor about it, too, but my problem with that is to question how officer Wilson, in such a short time, fabricated such an elaborate lie that matched all the physical evidence? Frankly, he doesn't seem that bright.

John said...

Tamir Rice video

I think it is truly a tragedy.

Now who should pay for the tragedy and loss of that boys life... And in which way.

The 911 Operator who neglected to mention that it may be a toy gun.

Police officers who pulled up so close to the "alleged gunman".

The rookie officer who was unable to see that it was a boy / toy as the "gun man" drew the gun.

The parents who allowed their 12 year old child to wander the neighborhood with a pellet gun. And did not teach him to not draw his gun when people with guns came near.

Personally I am thinking everyone of them is already being tortured by this tragedy.

What do you think should happen?

Sean said...

"What do you think should happen?"

It appears that there is probable cause to charge the officer with a crime.

John said...

What crime would that be?

He shot a person who was pulling their gun. How was he to know that it was not real?

Maybe we should charge the officer driving the car for coming too close to fast. They probably should have started talking from 1/2 block away.

What do you think the 12 year old was thinking as he drew the gun?

John said...

Or maybe we should charge the dispatcher with man slaughter for not correctly informing the officers?

Or that concerned citizen who couldn't tell that it was a 12 year old with a toy.

Sean said...

"What crime would that be?"

Manslaughter.

The police completely mishandled this case. The notion that the only way to handle this circumstance is to pull up and blow the kid away within two seconds of arriving on scene is absurd.

It's fascinating to me that you're such an authoritarian.

How about this one? I guess this guy should have known better than to get the license and registration that the cop asked for, right?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/sean-groubert-south-carolina-police-shooting

John said...

Even I can not defend that foolish officer... He really needs to cut down on his caffiene in take.

I am not sure if it is so much being an authoritarian as expecting citizens to show respect to the police officers who do an incredibly dangerous and important job.

A young man who attacks one or a 12 year old who draws a gun on one have made bad choices, and sometimes unfortunate consequences result.

So do you really think the police officers are excited when they choose to shoot someone who they think is going to shoot or injure them?

Do you think these officers are actually KKK members in disguise?

How do you think the officers and 911 operator are feeling after contributing to the death of a 12 year old boy who was playing with a gun?

Are they rationalizing it away, or does it keep them up at night?

John said...

Interesting thought... Should almost every person who kills someone in a car accident be charged with man slaughter or murder?

I mean usually they could have handled their car differently and avoided the accident...

Usually this is where civil law and big settlements come into play.

John said...

Big settlements in all 3 of these cases may encourage each city to increase it's training budget, change it's policies, etc...

Sean said...

No, I don't think they are excited about it. I think they have unconscious biases that influence their behavior.

In one of the articles Laurie linked to above, "Michael Brown Wasn't A Superhuman Demon", it talks about how these stereotypes have been handed down for hundreds of years and have been repeated in numerous prominent cases.

The author concludes:

"Instead, consider this: Maybe Wilson was an ordinary police officer with all the baggage it carries. Maybe, like many of his peers on the Ferguson police force, he was hard on black teenagers. Maybe, like many Americans, he was a little afraid of them. And maybe all of this—his fear, his bias, and his training—met Michael Brown and combined to create tragedy.

If so, the lesson of Wilson is that he isn’t unique. That his fear is common. And that the same forces that drove Wilson and Brown to confrontation can—and will—drive another Wilson and another Brown to another confrontation with the same deadly results."

Laurie said...

I think families should try a civil suit in theses cases of wrongful death and if I was on the jury I would award them $.

I think police forces need better polices and training regarding the uses of lethal force.

I would love to hear what the best cops would have to say about these situations and how they could have been handled better (if they could speak freely/honestly off the record)I don't think cops want to kill anyone, but too many situations are badly mishandled with a deadly result.

Some of us believe that Wilson escalated the situation and created the skirmish at his car the way he confronted Brown.

If he had not fired his gun at a fleeing Brown (my belief backed up by the majority of witness testimony) Brown would be alive today.

John said...

I do believe civil suits will occur, though I don't think Ferguson should need to pay. Michael was a criminal who was high and attacked an officer...

Regarding the 12 year old, I do think the city should pay something. The drive right up to a guy with a gun seems a bit stupid. I keep thinking, what if the individual was contemplating suicide...

And the idiot who shot the overly helpful and eager dive into the car driver... I assume someone should pay some amount.

John said...

I am somewhat interested in how one trains humans to manage their reactions when a severe scare / threat pumps massive amounts of adrenaline into them.

It seems all police should come from the military if we expect them to stay perfectly balanced during a live fire event.

Of course, on the other hand we want them caring, supportive, understanding, etc for most of the other aspects of their job.

Imagine the roller coaster that Wilson went through. He was helping on a sick call, then he was telling some kids to get out of the road, then one of them is struggling with him through the window. How exactly would one train for that?

Laurie said...

one could be trained to wait for back up and don't pursue an assailant by yourself (for those of you who believe Wilson's story of being attacked in his car)

I believe back up arrived about 90 seconds into the incident, by which time Brown was dead.

My other take away from this story is urban cops (or all cops) should wear body cameras. Maybe these incidents would be less likely to escalate and it they did escalate it would be much more clear what happened.

John said...

I guess I can't disagree with either of those comments. However should Wilson have assumed Brown was going to attack?

It seems the whole incidident started with Wilson just telling the guys to stop walking down the middle of the road. (ie that desireable caring cop thing)

Regarding cameras... You work with minors and sometimes adults abuse minors... Should all teachers be wearing cameras? How would you feel about that? Just curious.

Laurie said...

I have spent 25 years in schools and observe teachers having nearly 100% respectful interactions with students, even when I worked in setting IV EBD schools (separate schools for worst behaving students.

In those EBD schools video surveillance might be appropriate as students are sometimes restrained, although staff works hard to avoid this. Earlier this year a video would have caught me mishandling a situation where another teacher and I each took a 9 yr old student and escorted him to my room, which sent him into a rage.

Anyhow I think cameras are anappropriate tool when students are being restrained or if there are concerns about a specific teacher's interaction with students.

jerrye92002 said...

"Maybe, like many of his peers on the Ferguson police force, he was hard on black teenagers." -- Sean

What I find difficult or nearly impossible to reconcile is the unnecessary and completely unhelpful assumption that any time a black person is shot or otherwise "mistreated" by police, it is driven by racial animus. I firmly believe it is "discrimination," but it is the desirable kind. That is, if your daily experience taught you that most black teens were good kids, but that a disproportionate number of them-- say ten times as many as the number of troublesome white teens you encountered-- were potentially violent thugs, would you not be more likely to treat them somewhat differently, being on higher alert at minimum? Yes, that can lead to unfortunate incidents, but it also leads to survival, and it's hard to fault the police for that. More training is certainly a good idea, if someone can suggest how, and certainly the most egregious cases of bias or police misconduct should be criminally or civilly punished, but I don't think body cameras, while helpful, are the right answer. Too many of the "Ferguson" crowd wouldn't believe a clear videotape record. THAT is the racism that needs to be confronted.

Sean said...

Here's the problem, Jerry: in Ferguson, the police stopped blacks at far higher rates than they did whites DESPITE the fact that the rate of finding illegal drugs or other contraband was 50% higher among whites.

When you choose to police races differently, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

John said...

"Anyhow I think cameras are an appropriate tool when students are being restrained or if there are concerns about a specific teacher's interaction with students."

Does this mean police should only use cameras at certain times? Or only certain officers?

Laurie said...

if there is a potential for violence teachers are typically risking their lives to protect students and are not the ones doing the shooting.

Why are you opposed to body camaras? I believe some officers have no objection to them and they have reduced the number of complaints against officers.

John said...

I am not against body cameras.

I am just interested with at what point do we trust our public employees to protect and serve.

After the number of Teachers, Priests, Counselors, etc that have been accused of sexually, verbally or physically abusing minors. It seems you would be supportive of all of these people being required to wear a body camera when interacting with minors. Especially when in a one to one situation.

I mean it could reduce the amount of abuse committed by folks in your line of work and the law suits that result. Would you feel respected if they said you needed to wear a camera to ensure you are not an abusive public servant who is racially biased?

jerrye92002 said...

"When you choose to police races differently, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."-- Sean

Granted, and your statistics on "stops" may or may not constitute evidence of that. However, another way of looking at it is "fishing where the fish are." For example, we have an area near here, which happens to be mostly black, that has 12 times the police calls per capita of the rest of the area. Now, if you were the police interested in either deterring crime or being in a place where you would quickly respond to the next call, where would you concentrate your efforts? I'm sorry, but until the black "community" starts changing the culture that creates this crime-infested situation, there is going to be an apparent "disproportionate impact" in policing.

Laurie said...

I think when if comes to students there are much better ways to spend the money than on body cameras for every teacher. You are the only person I have ever heard to suggest that they are needed for teachers.

If I had a child in an EBD school who was frequently restrained I might request video surveillance of classrooms or timeout areas. If I worked in such a situation I would not object.

jerrye92002 said...

I'll repeat something I said earlier. If Officer Wilson had a video of the entire episode, the rioters would have claimed it was faked, and went right on rioting. Truth, in some quarters, is whatever you need it to be to fit the narrative.

John said...

Laurie,
I am just making a comparison. Maybe the inner city schools are failing because the Teachers are racially biased. This is robbing the children of their future. A terrible crime.

Maybe cameras in the classroom would ensure those poor Teachers perform correctly. As well as making sure no inappropriate behavior is occurring.

By the way the camera is not for your benefit, it would be there because citizens think you may be touching little Billy inappropriately. I mean it happens, so you may do it.

Just like citizens are thinking the Police Officers are behaving inappropriately. Since sometimes bad things happen while they are working.

Now try to answer my question, would you feel respected and trusted by the citizens if they required your student interactions be filmed?

I agree that officers are probably happy to wear them given the out cry of late. I am not sure if they will be happy being treated like a criminal that needs to be monitored while doing their job.

Laurie said...

"would you feel respected and trusted by the citizens if they required your student interactions be filmed?"

I thought "I would not object" answered the question.

If there was more video available of what teachers have to deal with everyday in some schools, maybe there would be more support for teachers and schools (one St. Paul middle school has had 9 teachers quit already this year.)

I think cameras protect police officers from being falsely accused.
If Wilson had one maybe he would still have a job today and wouldn't be receiving death threats.

Since I think I think this whole teacher officer comparison thing is kind of dumb I will attempt to elevate the discussion with a link.

How body cameras could change police

John said...

You qualified your statement.

"If I had a child in an EBD school who was frequently restrained I might request video surveillance of classrooms or timeout areas. If I worked in such a situation I would not object. "

You would not be wearing camera because people care for you and are concerned about your well being. Or because you asked for it. Some citizens want police to wear cameras because they apparently think the Police Officers are racist and treating certain population groups differently.

In this case intent makes all the difference in the world.

In in Ferguson situation, it is unlikely the body camera would have been turned on. I mean Wilson was sitting in his car talking to 2 young men walking down the middle of the road. Who would have thought one of them would have attacked...

Laurie said...

Okay, I can't help myself. I came across one more link that explains better than other pieces what was wrong with the indictment process that gave many people the wrong impression that Wilson's innocence has been proven. I know this is a waste of time but here it is anyway:

St. Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch Abused the Grand Jury Process

I think no indictment or or a real trial would have been better than what happened. I think any of the three options would have likely ended with protests.

John said...

Imagine my surprise to find this at New Republic...
New Republic What Liberals are Ignoring

Laurie said...

The New Republic is a pretty centrist publication; it only looks liberal from your conservative vantage point.

I agree with pretty much everything from your link, including the grand jury reached the right decision. My point has always been this "it (the evidence) was not conclusive one way or the other on whether Brown had, after he turned around to face Wilson, tried to surrender."

There was no fair and adequate trial to prove Wilson innocent of wrong doing. The grand jury was not necessary to find him not guilty of a crime. I have said that from the very beginning.

John said...

Based on the headlines today, I would say they are a bit Left of Center. Kind of like Fox News is a bit Right of Center.

New Republic Headlines

jerrye92002 said...

Interesting conflict of opinion there, but I have problems with the "slant" of both pieces. First, I don't think the process was "misused" if it resulted in justice being served. As for the other, I don't see the forensic evidence as "confused" on whether Brown tried to surrender, and unless someone can use the existing forensic evidence to prove conclusively otherwise, again, the grand jury was correct. But then, I'm judgmental that way.