Analysis: Ferguson Was a Highly Unusual Case and Process

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Officer Darren Wilson after being struck by Michael Brown
Officer Darren Wilson after being struck by Michael Brown

I find myself fascinated with the shooting of Michael Brown as it brings to light a number of different issues – the difficulty of evaluating police shootings and racial tensions. Yesterday in my commentary, I made two critical points. First, at the end of the day, what undermined the situation in Ferguson was lack of trust in the police and the authorities to fairly handle this case.

There are those who want to put the reaction on either “race-baiting” or “criminal elements.” However, I think they miss a crucial point here – these types of riots are comparatively rare. They take an unusual incident to precipitate them and so, if this were just a matter of baiting or criminals taking advantage of a tense situation, we would see riots far more often than we do.

The second point I want to hit home is that I remain convinced that there was substantial probable cause to indict Officer Darren Wilson, but I don’t believe there was enough evidence to convict a police officer of murder. Keep this point in mind as you read the rest of this analysis, because it’s actually a very nuanced position.

Unusual Grand Jury Process

Let us start with the grand jury process itself, which was very atypical. As David Harris, a national expert on police cases at Pitt Law School, argues, the handling of this case was very different from the typical grand jury, where prosecutors present to the grand jury only the evidence necessary to establish probable cause.

Professor Harris said: “The thing that is most striking to me is the way in which the grand jury was used. In the normal case, the prosecutor determines how the grand jury is used and controls the evidence. They don’t have to put any defense evidence before the grand jury and they usually don’t allow the defendant to testify. And the prosecutor makes a recommendation for indictments.”

None of that happened in the investigation. “All of this adds together to a process that is much different from the usual. Any time that you treat something very differently … that is going to lead to the continuing view that this was handled unfairly.

“It is so unusual for the prosecutor to dump all of the evidence and not guide them at all to not give them help and direction. Here we have the outcome he may have wanted but did not want to take the heat for. There is nothing illegal about that, but it basically never happens and the lack of the usual tells you a lot.”

What we see here, as noted by St. Louis Public Radio, the grand jury process:

  • Lasted longer. Most criminal cases are in and out of a grand jury in a short time. Few require months of work.
  • Heard more testimony. Typically, an investigating police officer will present evidence to the grand jury, which wouldn’t hear all of the evidence as it has in the Brown shooting.
  • Heard from the potential defendant. Most defense lawyers will tell their clients not to testify before a grand jury, but Officer Wilson reportedly testified for four hours.
  • Plans to release evidence. Only in extraordinary cases, such as this one, does a prosecutor consider releasing testimony and other evidence presented to the grand jury.

Legal experts seem split as to whether this different process was a strength or a detriment. But I will focus on a key point here.

“Ordinarily a prosecutor uses the grand jury as a rubber stamp, and people complain about that. This time, he went to the grand jury because he wanted them to take the political heat for a difficult decision, and he gave the grand jurors an overload of information,” said Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor who teaches criminal law at Loyola University in Los Angeles. “So now people are criticizing that because the prosecutor’s not taking responsibility for the decision.”

David Sklansky, a criminal law professor at Stanford University Law School, said the case in some ways underscores weaknesses in the grand jury system: “Grand juries don’t do a terrific job as a check on overzealous prosecutors, but they’re even worse as an independent check on a prosecutor who might be under-zealous,” he said.

Did McCulloch Softball the Cross-Examination?

The notion of the prosecutor who is underzealous is of concern here. We know, for instance, that there were calls early on for McCulloch to turn the case over to an independent prosecutor who could be seen as more neutral. Mr. McCulloch has a reputation for being pro-police or, more pejoratively, “in the pocket of the police,” and there was from the outset distrust in how he would handle the case.

We see this in the comments by the Brown family attorney, Anthony Gray, obviously a biased source: “This grand jury decision, we feel, is a reflection of the sentiment of those that presented the evidence.”

And, while it is easy to dismiss Mr. Gray’s comments for their bias, he raised some valid points, such as questioning why the prosecutors presented testimony of witnesses who clearly did not see the shooting.

The state of mind of the prosecutor becomes critical when evaluating the transcript of the testimony. Many criticized Mr. McCulloch for failing to properly prosecute this case, some argued that he asked Officer Wilson “softball” questions during cross-examination, while others went so far as to suggest Mr. McCulloch acted as a de facto defense attorney.

The New York Times in their analysis made note of “the gentle questioning of Officer Wilson,” as opposed to “the sharp challenges prosecutors made to witnesses whose accounts seemed to contradict his narrative.”

The Times added, “Though the prosecutors did not press Officer Wilson and other law enforcement officials about some contradictions in their testimony, they did challenge other witnesses about why their accounts had varied.”

CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin felt that the prosecution missed the opportunity to rigorously cross-examine Officer Wilson.

She said, “These prosecutors treated Darren Wilson with such kid gloves.”

“Their questions were all softballs, he wasn’t challenged, he wasn’t pressed,” she continued. “It was just unbelievable to me the way they treated him in front of that grand jury.”

She noted that Officer Wilson was never required to provide a statement to the police, giving him a month to consider his testimony, and giving the prosecutors nothing to compare it to.

“He talks about Michael Brown reaching into his waistband,” she continued. “Yet when one of the grand jurors asked him whether or not Michael Brown had a gun, he says, ‘I didn’t really think about that.’”

“He talks about this aggression from the very beginning, which seems odd,” Ms. Hostin argued. “He talks about being hit so forcefully two times [that] he thought the next hit would be fatal. Yet you look at his injuries, they don’t seem to be consistent with someone 6-foot-6, 300 pounds punching you with full force.”

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank went further. He noted that back in September he wrote that “it appeared he wasn’t even trying to get an indictment; he had a long record of protecting police in such cases, and his decision not to recommend a specific charge to the grand jury essentially guaranteed there would be no indictment.”

He wrote, “McCulloch essentially acknowledged that his team was serving as Wilson’s defense lawyers, noting that prosecutors ‘challenged’ and ‘confronted’ witnesses by pointing out previous statements and evidence that discredited their accounts.”

He continued, “ ‘Physical evidence does not change because of public pressure or personal agenda,’ McCulloch lectured piously. ‘Physical evidence does not look away as events unfold.’

“But physical evidence, like eyewitness testimony, is imperfect and often ambiguous. McCulloch knows this; that’s why he hedged in saying Brown’s wounds were ‘consistent with a close-range gunshot’ and ‘consistent with his body being bent forward,’ Mr. Milbank wrote. “McCulloch acknowledged that you could ‘take out a witness here, a witness there, and come to a different conclusion.’ And that’s exactly why we have public trials: to litigate conflicting accounts in a setting where the burden of proof is much higher than the probable-cause standard of the grand jury.”

He added, “Instead, McCulloch short-circuited the process — reinforcing a sense among African Americans, and many others, that the justice system is rigged. He almost certainly could have secured an indictment on a lesser charge simply by requesting it, yet he acted as if he were a spectator, saying that jurors decided not to return a ‘true bill’ on each possible charge — as if this were a typical outcome.”

It is highly unusual to have the defendant in the grand jury giving testimony – which suggests that Mr. Wilson’s attorneys had to approve it. Did they get assurances from the prosecution, or is it a sign they believed the facts spoke for themselves?

Conflicting Testimony

Officer Wilson said that he felt there was nothing he could have done to have avoided shooting and killing Michael Brown. But Officer Wilson is a 28-year-old police officer who had only been on the force for five years and had never been involved in a situation that required firing his weapon.

One of the points I made yesterday is that a veteran police officer might have had a better chance of diffusing the situation before it became this grave life-or-death battle – if it ever reached that point. Would a 50-year-old officer with more than 20 years of experience still have ended up with the same result? I have a lot of skepticism about that, but that part is mere conjecture.

Part of the problem I have, however, is with the comments made by Mr. Wilson in his testimony, such as he “felt like a 5-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan.” He reported that he was being taunted by the teen, who told him, “You’re too much of a p—y to shoot me.”

He said, “He looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.”

“At this point,” Officer Wilson said, “it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him. And the face he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even anything in his way.”

Officer Wilson described Mr. Brown in such inhuman terms that it seems difficult to take his testimony seriously.

The New York Times had a lengthy analysis of the conflicting testimony overall.

There were critical moments, such as the fatal shot and whether Mr. Brown, who had fled and turned around, had raised his hands to the sky or charged at the officer when the fatal shot was fired and he dropped to the ground 153 feet from the officer’s vehicle.

Wrote the Times, “An older man in a nearby housing complex dismissed the notion that Mr. Brown had raised his hands to the sky, as some claimed, in a gesture that became a symbol for the protest movement in Ferguson. But the man was adamant that Mr. Brown had never charged at Officer Wilson, only staggered toward him, wounded, his arms outstretched in a gesture of surrender.

“ ‘He had his hands up, palm facing the officer like, “O.K., you got me,” ‘ the man recalled, adding at a later point that he had once been shot himself so he knew what it felt like. The prosecutor pointed out that the distance Mr. Brown covered after turning was farther than the witness remembered, and a juror questioned the witness as to whether he could really judge how menacing Mr. Brown had appeared to Officer Wilson.

“Still this man’s testimony was like that of several others, in that it neither matched up perfectly with Officer Wilson’s account nor with the accounts of those most sympathetic to Mr. Brown. Many witnesses expressed uncertainty about the moment when Mr. Brown stopped and turned and what led Officer Wilson to start shooting. ‘That is something I wrestle with to this day,’ said a witness whose account lined up particularly with Officer Wilson’s, though even it diverged on a couple of crucial points, like whether the officer shouted commands for Mr. Brown to stop fleeing.”

Physical Evidence

There seem to be several key points here. First, the autopsy shows that Michael Brown was not shot in the back. Second, there was physical evidence that found Mr. Brown’s blood inside the police car and on Officer Wilson’s gun – this implies there was close-range contact, as the officer alleged.

At the same time, we have to question the intensity of the initial attack. Officer Wilson told the grand jury that Brown punched him in the face when the officer drove back to him.

“I felt that another of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse … I’ve already taken two to the face and I didn’t think I would, the third one could be fatal if he hit me right,” Mr. Wilson said.

NPR, analyzing all of the evidence, wrote, “We’ve also posted the photographs taken of Wilson on the day of the confrontation. Doctors diagnosed him with a bruise. That seems to cast some doubt on Wilson’s testimony about the intensity of the confrontation.”

While the physical evidence “seems to support Wilson’s version of events, in which there was a confrontation while he was inside the police vehicle,” the photos and medical examination show that “Wilson did not have any broken bones. An exam revealed ‘minimal palpable pain to left mid maxillary region.’ ” The doctor who saw him diagnosed him with a “facial contusion” or “the medical term for a bruise.”

This is key because this is the point at which the officer decided to use his gun.

The New Yorker wrote, “After being punched again, Wilson said, he considered reaching for his mace spray, but he was worried he’d get some of it in his own eyes, which would blind him, ‘and I would have been out of the game.’ So he went for his gun, a Sig Sauer .40 pistol, which had twelve bullets in the magazine and one in the chamber, and said to Brown, ‘Get back or I am going to shoot you.’ “

They continued, “At this point, Wilson testified, Brown ‘grabs my gun, says, “You are too much of a pussy to shoot me.”‘ Brown then pushed the gun down toward Wilson’s thigh, the officer went on, and a pulling match ensued, during which Wilson twice tried to shoot the gun, but it didn’t go off. Eventually, it did, blowing out one of the windows and drawing blood from somewhere on Brown’s body. The gunfire startled both of them, Wilson said. Brown took a step back, and then looked up at him with ‘the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked. He comes back towards me again with his hands up.’ ”

The key question becomes the use of deadly force in this instance.

As the New Yorker noted, “Obviously, questions can be raised about the accuracy of this account, which Wilson prepared in conjunction with his defense attorney. But even assuming it’s true, what stands out is that once the second shot had been fired and Brown had started to run, he no longer represented a deadly threat to the officer or to anybody else. He was a large, bleeding, unarmed man running down the street in an attempt to get away. Wilson, who chased after Brown, was the one with the deadly weapon.”

They add, “It is worth noting that, according to Wilson’s version of events, Brown had now been shot at least three times: once in the car and twice in the street. But still he kept coming at the officer.”

“At this point, it almost looked like he was bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him,” Officer Wilson said. “And the face that he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even anything in his way.”

Officer Wilson said that he backed up again, and, eventually, Mr. Brown got to within eight or ten feet of him. “At this point I’m backing up pretty rapidly, I’m backpedaling pretty good because I know if he reaches me, he’ll kill me,” Wilson said. “And he had started to lean forward as he got that close, like he was going to just tackle me, just go right through me.”

At the point that the fatal shot was fired, Officer Wilson said Mr. Brown was charging, others said he had his hands up, and the old man described him as staggering. However, many have argued that, because he refused to drop to the ground, Mr. Brown’s actions could not be described as a surrender.

The New York Times noted, “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.”

They added, “The medical examiner described the succession of bullet wounds to the chest and face that, in his view, would not have immediately incapacitated Mr. Brown. The prosecutors repeatedly questioned the doctor about this, driving home that Mr. Brown could have still been mobile (and dangerous) after the initial gunshot wounds.

“They seemed intent on emphasizing this point, which supports Officer Wilson’s description of Mr. Brown lunging toward him despite serious wounds.”

Final remarks

I suspect that everyone will come out of these analyses in the same place that they started. As I said, there is plenty of evidence to establish probable cause. I don’t see enough to convict him. I think the officer mishandled the situation from the start and allowed it to escalate – we didn’t really analyze the initial encounter.

I would have felt more comfortable with the finding and decision had the prosecutor really pressed Officer Wilson when he was under oath. I think that is going to, more than anything else, confirm the belief that many have that the prosecutor was not interested in charging Officer Wilson with a crime, but using the grand jury process to avoid political scrutiny.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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66 thoughts on “Analysis: Ferguson Was a Highly Unusual Case and Process”

  1. sisterhood

    “I suspect that everyone will come out of these analyses in the same place that they started.”

    Agree. The readers who have never had a bad interaction with law enforcement will continue to blindly defend Officer Wilson. I can’t really blame them. Before my experiences, I used to be like them. They want to believe our criminal justice system is always fair, and cops never make mistakes.

    I hope that this incident will result in all cops wearing cameras. I’m glad  this incident brings to light the problems with the relationship between the D.A. and law enforcement.

  2. Barack Palin

    The readers who have never had a bad interaction with law enforcement will continue to blindly defend Officer Wilson.

    And those that think that thugs that assault and steal from a store owner and assault an officer are the victim and will blindly defend them.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I have read a lot of analyses, they all have different takes and different perspective. I would encourage people to stop using the term “blindly” – I think there are people who have experiences and perceptions that lead them toward skepticism about Wilson and those who have experiences and perceptions that lead them to have more skepticism towards Brown and his intentions.

      I will say, I don’t think there’s necessarily a contradiction between the notion that Brown could be doing bad things, could have reacted wrongly towards the officer, and yet still be a victim.

      One of the interesting comments at our event the other night on Prosecutorial misconduct was that you always wish for the case where the client is completely innocent and the prosecutor is completely guilty of misconduct, the reality was in the case of Dekrai, the defendant was guilty of the crime but the prosecutor guilty of egregious misconduct. Police misconduct works the same way. You’re rarely going to get a clear cut case where the innocent person is beaten by the cop for no reason. It might happen, but more often you have degrees of gray and somehow you need to sort them through.

      We rely on police to be our protectors and such they get held to a high standard of conduct. Where those lines are drawn will determine how you assess an individual situation.

      1. Barack Palin

        One of the interesting comments at our event the other night on Prosecutorial misconduct was that you always wish for the case where the client is completely innocent and the prosecutor is completely guilty of misconduct

        This is a very telling comment.  Why would anyone wish for that?  Is it all about making the DA’s office look bad?

        1. Dave Hart

          The goal is not to make the prosecutor “look bad”, it is to expose how a totally innocent person can be convicted of crimes they did not commit.  The goal is to expose the process that prosecutors use to get convictions.  Getting convictions too often becomes more important than getting the case right.  It’s about actual justice.

      2. zaqzaq

        Officer Wilson is the victim here.  The physical evidence supports his version as opposed to the one that MSNBC and CNN ran with which was that Brown was shot in the back while he was running away and then shot facing the officer with his hands up just standing there.  When the video of the robbery was released the Brown camp reply was that the police were conducting character assassination of this poor black college bound teenager.  The only character assassination that has take place has been on the poor officer who was doing his job making a series of split second decisions that culminated with him killing Brown.  The robbery was relevant because Brown fit the description that was broadcast and Wilson recognized that Brown fit the description prior to any physical activity.  A robbery suspect can be dangerous.  The physical evidence supports Wilson’s testimony concerning the struggle in the vehicle.  The physical evidence  (blood trail and shell casings) supports Brown moving towards Wilson causing Wilson to shoot Brown.

        Brown’s decisions led to his death.  He was high on marijuana (autopsy blood analysis) when he committed the robbery (video).  Had he not stolen he would be alive.  Had he gotten out of the road the officer may not have linked him to the robbery call.  He would be alive.  Had he not assaulted the officer leading to a struggle in the vehicle over the officers gun he wold be alive.  Had he stopped and proned out while being pursued the officer he would be alive.  Had he turned with his hands up and gotten on the ground he would be alive.  Had he not ignored the officers directions and moved towards the officer to within eight feet (blood trail and shell casings) he would be alive.  A stoned Brown got himself killed.  One question I have was whether he was on a marijuana psychosis much like a meth psychosis during the encounter.  That may explain his aggressive behavior.  Why is Mike Brown, a marijuana smoking robber, being held up as a victim.  The true victim is the police officer who was doing his job.

  3. Barack Palin

    5 years on a police force is hardly a rookie anymore.  The fact that Wilson had never fired his gun before just adds to his defense that he’s not some rogue cop looking to bang heads.  David, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree here and trying to defend a position that’s indefensible, the fact that the officer’s actions were justified and that Michael Brown precipitated the whole affair with his provocative actions.

  4. South of Davis

    David wrote

    > I find myself fascinated with the shooting of Michael Brown 

    I read last night that OVER 1,000 black guys have been shot (only about a third of them died) in Chicago since Michael Brown was shot.  It is unfortunate that unless a black guy is shot by a cop or white-Hispanic that no one seems to care.

    > I would encourage people to stop using the term “blindly”

    Can you link to a post where you say a cop was justified in shooting a black guy?  Can Frankly link to post where he says a cop should be in jail for shooting a black guy?  Most Democrats have never voted for a Republican and most Republicans have never voted for a Democrat so “blindly” is a term that makes a lot of sense

    1. Frankly

      Can Frankly link to post where he says a cop should be in jail for shooting a black guy?

      I had to search for it, but while looking for examples I came across this one.  It is very interesting to me because the cop clearly over-reacted, but the suspect was clearly stupid in his actions.  So was the cop at the very least.  Was it a racially-motivated response?  I think that would be hard to prove.

      But this type of over-reaction cannot be tolerated and the cop should face significant discipline.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/25/sean-groubert-fired-arrested_n_5879694.html

      And this leads me back to something I have advocated for… teaching kids how to respond when police stop them so that they carry that with them as adults.   When I am pulled over for traffic issues I find a safe place to pull over and I keep my hands on the the steering wheel and great the cop with “hello officer, what did I do now?”  The most recent time I got pulled over I was pulling a trailer too fast.  The officer let me off with a warning because he said he appreciated me pulling over far from the traffic lane to keep us both safe.

      People need to have empathy for the job.  Cops don’t know who they are stopping.  They don’t know when conflict will occur.  They are trained to note behavior and actions of suspects and respond accordingly.   Some get it wrong, but often it is because a suspect does stupid stuff that triggers a trained reaction.

      1. PhilColeman

        Many years ago, the Enterprise published a column I wrote on “Car Stop Etiquette,” or some such phrasing. While stressing there was no legal mandate implied, motorist behavior and response to introductory questions go a long way towards a mutually satisfactory police/citizen contact. Whether or not a citation was issued was irrelevant to this topic.

        Emphasis was made on “how” and “why” patrol and traffic officers do what they do. In subsequent weeks, I received positive comments from every spectrum of the police love/hate spectrum. I don’t remember ever having that happen before, or since.

        In a more temperate time and circumstance, this writing might have continued utility to a subsequent generation of Davis citizenry. I still have it my personal file.

  5. Frankly

    “It is so unusual for the prosecutor to dump all of the evidence and not guide them at all to not give them help and direction. Here we have the outcome he may have wanted but did not want to take the heat for. There is nothing illegal about that, but it basically never happens and the lack of the usual tells you a lot.”
    Legal experts seem split as to whether this different process was a strength or a detriment.

    I think my head might explode trying to process the direct hypocrisy, the gross contradictions and the lack of anything resembling rational analysis.
    So the DA facilitates a much more robust grand jury process.  The grand jury, that includes blacks, deliberates for much longer to ensure they make the right decisions… and now THIS is cause for complaint?
    I think the clear indication here is that David and the rest of the “can’t see the world unless through race-tinted glasses” is just upset that there is not a DA to lynch.  It must be very frustrating to those crusaders against law enforcement, the media looking to perpetuate the sensationalism of the story, and legal “analysts” looking to see their name published somewhere… anywhere… that the decision was made by a group of regular people given extra testimony and time and without any political ambitions effecting their work.
    There isn’t an honorable human on this planet that is happy that Officer Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown.  But the moment that Michael Brown decided he did not have to show respect to a police officer he then set himself up for the risk that he would do something very stupid and dangerous in an encounter with police.  That is exactly what happened.  And this trend will continue because liberals and race baiters continue to blame police and whites and corporations and successful people (except liberal ones), and the media continues to whip up racial conflict because it sells copy… for the problems facing black communities… when the 95% of the problems in the black communities are self-inflicted by the black communities.
    What if Michael Brown had been taught to show respect and consideration for law enforcement?   I fully believe he would be alive today had that been the case.   But instead we tee up the next Michael Brown with this BS blame game.
    Officer Wilson was found by a jury of his peers to not have broken the law.  Move on.  But lets move on to really SOLVING problems rather than perpetuating them.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      “So the DA a much more robust grand jury process…”

      But he didn’t. What he facilitated was a process that was designed to appear more robust, but he tilted by questioning one side of the story more rigorously than the other.

      1. Frankly

        So now your point is that the Grand Jury were victims of this DA feeding them biased information?

        Come on David… you seem to have a significant DA bias problem.

        The Grand Jury was given much more testimony and time than they typically get.  The Grand Jury process is the grand jury process… you cannot juxtapose another legal process onto it complaining that it isn’t something it is not supposed to be.

        If the DA had followed the same less rigorous grand jury process you would still be complaining that the DA pushed his own desired result.

        It seems nothing will turn off your anti-DA bias unless the cop and the DA are both sufficiently lynched and sent to prison.

      2. Frankly

        Michael Brown’s life was a trajectory toward a much greater risk of death because of the black community victim mentality perpetuated by unchecked black anger, race-exploitative politics, destructively-ignorant social justice crusaders and an immoral media.

        “If it’s never our fault, we can’t take responsibility for it. If we can’t take responsibility for it, we’ll always be its victim.”
        Richard Bach


        “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the nonpharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
        John W. Gardner

        We will never see the black community advance to true parity and equality with other groups as long as these things continue.  Civil rights 2.0 requires a final end to them all.  That is where the dialog needs to focused.  But instead the immoral media continues to flame racial tensions to generate easy content and copy to sell.  Democrats continue to flame racial anger to generate easy votes to harvest.  Social justice crusaders continue to seek out and perpetuate victims to save.  And many blacks continue to wrap themselves in the comfort of victim-hood and anger for their lack of economic and social success… even while more and more blacks around them prove that the roadblocks can be overcome with pretty much the same efforts that all people must exert.

        What happens when the black community come to economic and social parity with other communities?  It stops having problems with law enforcement because law enforcement does not have to be there.

        So join in to help the black community once and forever become just part of the American community with equal outcomes.  Do this by simply demanding the same expectations of behavior of the black community that you would expect for your own community.   No excuses.

      3. theotherside

        Greenwald

        “But he didn’t. What he facilitated was a process that was designed to appear more robust, but he tilted by questioning one side of the story more rigorously than the other.”

        What I see here are some that do not like the process but they disagree with the outcome.  Use of the Grand Jusry was completely appropriate here.  And they came to an appropriate conclusion based on the facts.  And this is not that unusual of a process at all.  Mr McCulloch did not need to use the Grand Jury, he could have decided himself that this case did not merit charges.  He did so because of the controversial nature of the case and the overwhelming use of the media.  He used a tool at his disposal as a check and balance to have an unbiased appearance.  And it worked thus upsetting those that disagree.

        Those that say he cannot be fair because he is “in the cops pockets” is absurd and insulting to a top law enforcement official.  Maybe if his constituents thought he was so unfair, perhaps they should not have elected him…oh remember that democratic system we have?  And to even insinuate that he cannot be fair because his father was killed by a black man is just insulting…more victim blaming I guess.

        Pull your heads out people and see this for what it is…a tragic set of circumstances set in motion by an out of control criminal.

  6. sisterhood

    Disrespect is no reason to be killed. There is no law in the U.S. that says we must show respect for cops.

    I still don’t get why Wilson left his car. If he was that afraid of Mr. Brown, he could have rolled up his window & driven away, or waited for back up. And I firmly believe he could have aimed better and brought him down without shooting him in the head.

    I don’t believe Wilson’s statement that when he was being “charged at”, and in fear of his life, he wondered about the legal aspect of killing Mr. Brown At that point, I doubt he was thinking about legal issues.

    I really don’t understand readers who keep bringing up the shoplifting and jay walking as an excuse for killing. Those crimes do not mean he was violent and dangerous. I guess they are trying to make the kid out to be such a bad person that he deseved to die. Sad.

    1. Frankly

      You don’t get the point.  It isn’t showing disrespect.  It is that he had disrespect modeled by members of the community and media… and apparently people like you that believe it is a right and a good thing to “flip off” a cop.  And then that leads to him making stupid decisions.

      What if we taught kids that they don’t have to respect teachers?  That it is ok to flip them off and call them pigs, etc.

      I think your opinions on having freedom to disrespect cops are shared by many people with more extreme political views… both left and right… and they foment more risk of tragic circumstances like the Michael Brown incident.

      1. sisterhood

        You remarked that his parents should have raised him to respect the cops. Read the other articles about the Ferguson Police Dept. I bet if you were black and raised in Ferguson, you’d teach your kids to be afraid of the cops, not respectful. Respect is a two way street, and apparently the cops in Ferguson were not due any.

        1. Frankly

          Well then move the hell away.  If it is really that bad, then you are a bad parent for keeping your children there.

          But if you corrupt a child with hostility and mistrust of authority then you are responsible for injecting greater risk of them being harmed due to demonstrations lacking respect for authority.

          Again I ask, would it be okay to teach the kids to disrespect and fear teachers and coaches?  Are you just going to ignore that question?

           

        2. zaqzaq

          His parents should have raised him to not rob stores and smoke marijuana.   Then again if his step father was a role model for him his thuggery is explained.  His step father was the one who was in the middle of the mob outside the Furgeson police station yelling “burn it down” repeatedly after learning that there would be no verdict.  Then  there are a number of businesses and vehicle burned and destroyed.  With his high THC level who knows what was going through his head when he got himself killed.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      You guys got off on a tangent. Mr. Brown wasn’t shot because he was disrespectful: he was shot because he …

      1. Flipped off an officer+

      2. Didn’t follow an officers directions+

      3. Attacked an officer in his car+

      4. Tried to take the officer’s gun+

      5. Tried to shoot the officer+

      6. After fleeing the cars, spun around and charged the officer with his 300-pound frame.

       

      And no, police officer’s are taught not to shot to injure, they are taught to shoot to kill, for many reasons. Here is one: one happens if the officer tries to shoot Mr. Brown in the knee several times, and misses, and Mr. Brown wrestles away the gun? No. 1 , odds are high he (the office) is dead. No. 2, there is now an officer’s gun out i the community if the hands of a criminal with multiple felonies to hi credit. No. 3, Mr. Brown could also steal the car and any other weapons onboard (rifle, cuffs, tear gas, other).

  7. Barack Palin

    Disrespect is no reason to be killed. 

    Once again you’re twisting the facts.  He wasn’t killed for being disrespectful, he was killed for attacking the cop in his vehicle and later charging at him.  Not hard to understand unless of course one doesn’t care about the facts.

  8. Anon

    “There are those who want to put the reaction on either “race-baiting” or “criminal elements.” However, I think they miss a crucial point here – these types of riots are comparatively rare. They take an unusual incident to precipitate them and so, if this were just a matter of baiting or criminals taking advantage of a tense situation, we would see riots far more often than we do.
    The second point I want to hit home is that I remain convinced that there was substantial probable cause to indict Officer Darren Wilson, but I don’t believe there was enough evidence to convict a police officer of murder. Keep this point in mind as you read the rest of this analysis, because it’s actually a very nuanced position.”
    So what are you saying?  You would not be satisfied unless and until Officer Wilson was charged with something?  What exactly do you believe he was guilty of?

  9. sisterhood

    “What exactly do you believe he was guilty of?”

    I  think below is David’s point. The title of this article explains much of it. Highly unusual process.
    “The second point I want to hit home is that I remain convinced that there was substantial probable cause to indict Officer Darren Wilson, but I don’t believe there was enough evidence to convict a police officer of murder. Keep this point in mind as you read the rest of this analysis, because it’s actually a very nuanced position.”

      1. Anon

        Exactly.  David says he would not convict the officer of murder, but it implies he should have been found guilty of something.  So my question is guilty of what?

        1. Don Shor

          I think the question is whether he should have been charged and the questions and conflicts should have been resolved by a jury. I’m not that clear on the exact function of a grand jury in a case like this, but I don’t think the grand jury was supposed to have found him guilty or innocent. The question is whether the prosecutor did an adequate job of presenting the evidence, and whether he cross-examined the officer and other witnesses with sufficient rigor.

        2. David Greenwald Post author

          It wasn’t my intention to suggest that he should be found guilty of something. As Don noted, the jury (in a jury trial) has the job of weighing the facts, the prosecutor’s job is to determine whether or not to charge with a crime, that’s the question that the grand jury should have weighed – not guilt or innocence.

  10. TrueBlueDevil

    I lean one way, because I have seen trumped up claims of racism for decades, and they often seem to turn out to be false. If a story interests me, I still read witness accounts and evidence to come to some kind of conclusion. (For example, my opinion on the Bill Cosby situation has changed as more and more accounts, and evidence, has come forward.) And the media and political left fan the flames, look for their 15 minutes of fame, and then slink away when most or all is disproven.

    Tawana Brawley (Al Sharpton) – flat out lies trying to ruin police officers careers b/c she was out playing footsies with her boyfriend.

    Duke Lacrosse case – numerous young men falsely accused of rape by a prostitute.

    Noose in a workplace – planted by the alleged victim.

    Trayvon Martin – he attacked the lurker neighborhood watchman – half-Latino / half white – the media described him as white; the media spliced tape to make his answers sound racist (when the police had late in the call asked his ethnicity); and photos showed his head was slammed against the sidewalk.

    Bill Clinton – claimed he read about churches being burned in his home state when he was young, but a review of the data shows that it never happened in that time period. It was a fabrication, or he “mis-remembered”.

    David wrote: “I think the officer mishandled the situation from the start and allowed it to escalate – we didn’t really analyze the initial encounter.”

    I think therein lies the problem. The officer approached Mr. Brown respectfully two times while he is arrogantly walking down the middle of the street, and then after the third attempt things escalate. From the grand jury information I have read, it was Mr. Brown who escalated the situation, and then went DevCon 5 when he reached for his gun.

    Proof of the political underpinnings and slant of the media and left is that there is a nearly identical case nearby that has been ignored. A black cop shoots a white, unarmed young man who is now dead, he has a criminal background, and there is no uproar, no rioting. Chew on that.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      P.S. There is a racial angle in that I think few white officers will be well received in a predominantly black, crime-ridden area. They will often be argued with, given the silent treatment, cursed at, intimidated, ignored, and possibly threatened. You could send Peter Pan in there, and there would be problems.

      There are contradictions in black communities in that they want more police, they want the gangs and crime reduced, but then if it is their gang, their brother, their nephew, their “cuz”, resistance escalates. There is the “no snitchin” credo, and rap songs per such, and there are the families who detest the gangs, but then don’t mind the free flat screen TVs, the ride in the lowered BMW, the $20 here or the $200 there, or the free blunt that feels good in the moment.

      I’ll add I’ve never been to St. Louis, but I have been to some of the roughest inner city black neighborhoods on the west coast repeatedly.

      The media misses the fuller context and the current changes, which include Latino gang bangers intimidating and threatening black community members, families, and churches, telling them that South Central is “our neighborhood now”, so get out. But this doesn’t fit the media and university narrative of white = oppressor, and black = victim.

      1. Dave Hart

        But this doesn’t fit the media and university narrative of white = oppressor, and black = victim.

        It actually does fit the narrative of white=oppressor and black=victim, although I don’t agree this is a “media” or “university” narrative.  It’s a narrative that is based in fact and because of that, the media has picked up on it just as it has repeated solution narratives like “we all just need to get along.”  White is a stand-in word for whoever has the power over the courts and police, the press and the church.  White is used because the power structure in this country is composed of white people and minority individuals who agree the dominant white power elite.  There are a few people of color who have prominent roles, but they do not challenge, in a fundamental way, the power structure as a prerequisite for their position.  So, “white” works for me as well as any other word.  The white power structure has just as much disdain for the Latino as the black community and are fine with them fighting with each other.  They also don’t give a damn about white people either, but they find it useful to keep everybody fighting or at least suspicious of each other.  The power elite loves it when they get lots of support from people like your own bad self.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Here are two examples of how police shootings aren’t covered if they don’t fit a white / oppressor, black / victim story line.

          In Utah, an almost identical police shooting occurred. Dillion Taylor, 20 and unarmed, was shot to death by a black police officer. There was a confrontation outside of a 7/11 store. Like Mr. Brown, he also had a criminal record. The media has not covered this, and Eric Holder hasn’t sent 100 FBI agents.

          http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/sep/3/justice-dillon-taylor-after-white-utah-man-fatally/

          In Terrebonne, Louisiana, Cameron Tillman, a 14 yo boy, was shot dead by a black sheriff responding to a report of armed trespassers.

          BTW, Dave, how do you classify Jewish- and Asian-Americans? Are they also “oppressors”?

        2. tribeUSA

          Mr. Hart–the power structure cares only about the color green($); they don’t give a damn about any other color. If you are a player and agree to play the game by their rules, you will be handsomely rewarded; white, black, purple, or whatever other preferred way in which you prefer to divide people into different classes. And yes, they thrive on division between different groups, while they quietly continue to divert to them selves a greater and greater proportion of the nations wealth.

          What about re-framing the issues surrounding what we currently call racial, into the more accurate category of cultural? But no, cultural is something that you can do something about (unlike race which nobody can change), and it does not suit the power structure to acknowledge that people have the power to change some of their harmful cultural habits that lead to inter-group friction; they want to prop up a narrative of an oppressor class and a victim class, and do what they can to stoke friction between groups.

    2. David Greenwald Post author

      The problem I have is where does our information of the initial encounter come from? Mainly the officer’s own testimony. That’s largely unchallenged testimony, which is again why this arrangement is not ideal.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Which is corroborated by the physical evidence.

        The huge turning points for me are 1) he pushes / attacks the officer, 2) he pushed the officer back into the car (a very aggressive move), and 3) he reaches for the gun and tries to pull the trigger. All bets are then off.

        BTW, have we gotten toxicology reports? Was he on (harmless) marijuana, wax / dabs, or anything else? (He stole the cigarrillos, which are often used as part of using various forms of cannibus.)

         

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        Which is corroborated by the physical evidence. The huge turning points for me are 1) he pushes / attacks the officer, 2) he pushed the officer back into the car (a very aggressive move), and 3) he reaches for the gun and tries to pull the trigger. All bets are then off. BTW, have we gotten toxicology reports? Was he on (harmless) marijuana, wax / dabs, or anything else? (He stole the cigarrillos, which are often used as part of using various forms of cannibus.)

  11. Barack Palin

    “We’ve also posted the photographs taken of Wilson on the day of the confrontation. Doctors diagnosed him with a bruise. That seems to cast some doubt on Wilson’s testimony about the intensity of the confrontation.”

    Yes, and those photos proved that Wilson was struck very hard in the face.  As far as trying to come to some conclusion that the punch must not have been that hard due to the size and darkness of the bruise and the fact that there are no broken bones is wrong.  I have never bruised much my whole life, but my wife can just slightly bump into a table and she’ll get a large dark bruise.  Often times she has bruises and has no idea of how she got them.  So to surmise that the punch wasn’t that powerful and Wilson not feeling his life might be threatened by another such punch is total one-sided conjecture by the left leaning news agencies cited in the article.

    1. Tia Will

      BP

      I really have to disagree with you on your assessment of the degree of injury demonstrated by the bruise on Officer Wilson’s face. I covered Emergency Rooms for three years early in my career and this level of bruising is simply not consistent with a life threatening blow. Now this certainly does not mean that Officer Wilson was not scared, he probably was, but if we are considering fact, the bruise does not conform to a life threatening injury. This is not solely a matter of the color of the bruise but that plus the fact that he had no broken bones, no damaged teeth, and nothing even vaguely resembling a concussion.

       

      1. Barack Palin

        He said he was afraid of a third blow possibly knocking him out or being fatal.  If Brown did in fact knock him out and being he was reaching for his gun there’s a good chance Wilson would be dead today.

        “I felt that another of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse … I’ve already taken two to the face and I didn’t think I would, the third one could be fatal if he hit me right,” Mr. Wilson said.

        Now are you going to dispute what Wilson said there?  He took a hard blow and I totally think it reasonable that he felt another blow might render him unconscious.   He’s the one who took the blows, he knew how hard he was hit. Are you that much of an expert that you can predict the future and know that Brown’s next blow wasn’t going to do enough harm to knock him out or be fatal?  What does this poor guy have to do to get his detractors off his back.  We have a thug who beat him and reached for his gun and then charged him in the street as is collaborated by many witnesses.  I have no doubt if Brown was a white guy even the lefties would have no problem with the outcome of this situation.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          If he was knocked out or even dizzy / confused, Mr. Brown would have gotten the gun, the officer would be dead, and there would be a police officer’s gun in the hands of a multiple-offense violent 300-pound felon.

          The media would then ignore this killed officer, and they’d find another black victim to advertise.

          FYI, these areas are no picnic … they make Oak Park look like Disneyland.

      2. tribeUSA

        Tia–first I agree, the injuries to officer Wilson did appear very minor

        but here’s where you may be missing some experience as a boy growing up and engaging in a few fistfights: when someone swings at you, you don’t stand still as a statue and absorb the blow. In fact, there is a bodily reaction (reflexive; not something you need to think about consciously) to avoid the blow altogether or minimize the impact of the blow; often you minimize the impact of the blow by positioning your head/face in such a manner that the blow will land in a glancing manner; not full on (watch some boxing–usually the boxers are skilled and are able to land only glancing blows on each other; the small percentage of the time when the blows ‘connect’–e.g. are solid with a full transfer of the momentum and kinetic energy of the punch–that the damage is done; often the opponent reels or goes down with a single such blow (‘knockout punch)–many of the prior blows may have been delivered with comparably as much force, but they just don’t connect full-on).

        You can surmise that officer Wilson stood still like a statue and suppressed his instinctual reactions to avoid the blows, which were delivered gently enough to cause only minor bruising. It is much more likely that he was able to move his head/neck around enough in his seat in avoidance so that the blows were only glancing blows—but being constrained in his seat; the odds are against him; any of the following punches could land solid; and delivered by a 300 lb man standing over him, could have done serious damage. Or you can surmise that the gentle giant was just giving him some love taps.

         

        1. Barack Palin

          We have a local case right here in Davis where a few years ago a young man was punched in the face and it severed his his spine at the base of his brain and he ended up dying.

  12. Barack Palin

    NY Times publishes Wilson’s street name, wife’s name and city where they live.

    “Officer Wilson and [blank] own a home together on [blank] Lane in [blank], Mo., a St. Louis suburb about a half-hour drive from Ferguson.”

    Despicable.

     

    1. Tia Will

      BP

      “Officer Wilson and [blank] own a home together on [blank] Lane in [blank], Mo., a St. Louis suburb about a half-hour drive from Ferguson.”

      On this, we agree.

    2. Tia Will

      I believe firmly in individual responsibility for each party involved in this tragedy.

      Mr. Brown had a number of better options:

      1. He could have not committed robbery.

      2. He could not have used marijuana.

      3. He could have not walked down the middle of the street.

      4.  He could have complied with Officer Wilson’s instructions

      5. He could have not struck Officer Wilson.

      Yes, I agree, all that should never have occurred. However, none of this rises to me to the level of the death penalty which was the penalty imposed by Officer Wilson.

      So what alternatives did Officer Wilson have ?

      1. With apparently erratic behavior, he could have awaited back up as sisterhood stated.

      2. He could have chosen to use the pepper spray as he himself pointed out.

      3. After the grappling with the gun, he could have locked himself in the car and moved it away from Mr. Brown until back up arrived.

      One major problem with these cases in which police officers actions result in deaths, and those related to the “stand your ground” incidents is that there is only one side of the story able to be heard. So Officer Wilson has time to hone his version of the story. Mr. Brown will never be able to relate his.

       

      1. tribeUSA

        Tia–it’s important to be careful with words in cases like this; after all words have meaning. Do you actually stand behind your statement, and if so based on what evidence, that officer Wilson imposed the death penalty on Brown? If a surgeon loses a patient during a tricky surgery, do you speak of the surgeon as having imposed the death penalty on the patient? Does not the evidence support that the officer fired in self-defense? Unlike the misleading statements in the article above, Brown was not 150 feet away from Wilson (i.e. Wilson was not at the police car) when he was fatally shot, the shell casings are within 10-20 feet of where Brown fell and died. Furthermore blood stains from Brown were located about 25 feet further up the street from where Brown fell, providing compelling physical evidence that Brown indeed doubled back toward the officer by at least 25 feet, possibly more; and the locations of the shell casings relative to Browns dead body show that Brown had nearly reached officer Wilson before the final head shot.

        Officer Wilson explains why he didn’t use the pepper spray; pretty presumptuous to second-guess his actions.

        Brown had committed three felonies within about thirty minutes before Wilson left the car to apprehend him (1) robbery/assault at the mini-mart (2) assault on officer Wilson thru the window of the police car, including punching the police officer twice in the face (3) struggling to get the officers gun; supported by forensic evidence on the gun. In my view, Wilson did his duty by pursuing this violent felon and apprehending him; not letting him off the hook–who knows what other acts of violence he would commit if not apprehended ASAP?

        1. Tia Will

          tribeUSA

          that officer Wilson imposed the death penalty on Brown? If a surgeon loses a patient during a tricky surgery, do you speak of the surgeon as having imposed the death penalty on the patient?”

          I get it that you do not like my choice of words. But I will stand by them just as I would stand by the equivalent description of malfeasance on the part of a surgeon.

          My choice of words does not alter the essential fact. Mr. Brown is dead. He is dead at the hands of Officer Wilson. Officer Wilson is able to recount his version of events. Mr. Brown cannot. This is a direct effect of both of their actions. Both of them had other options.

          So let’s take your example of a “tricky surgery”. This is something that I do know well. It is completely within my area of expertise. I have both been a surgeon and sat on QA committees. As soon as a surgeon sees that a surgery is becoming “tricky” they have an obligation to stabilize the situation and call for help. What Officer Wilson chose to do would be the equivalent of a surgeon, knowing that a surgery was going south, having the opportunity to staunch the hemorrhage, with pressure or a clamp (equivalent to backing away in the car), while waiting for another fully qualified surgeon to arrive, but instead I decide to cut further and further with complete knowledge that the patient will  die if I keep cutting. We don’t call it imposition of the death penalty ( because we are not involved in the police/judicial system) but I would certainly call it what it is. Negligence and malpractice with malicious intent. I think that there should be a full review of the actions of this surgeon and would support immediate removal from the medical staff, forfeiture of license and possibly charging some form of unjustified deliberate homicide after a full impartial investigation not conducted by the surgeon’s peers or the hospital at which he or she works.

           

           

           

      2. zaqzaq

        Tia,

        Under your scenario Officer Wilson should have locked himself inside the car until backup arrived.  What would the commentary be about his performance if Brown went and killed someone in another robbery?  Cowardly cop locks self in car while robbery suspect escapes only to kill.

        1. Tia Will

          zaqzaq

          What would the commentary be about his performance if Brown went and killed someone in another robbery?”

          I don’t actually care what a hypothetical commentary might read. I do not think a hypothetical headline is worth a man’s life. If someone else had been killed, yes, that would have been tragic. But there is no, zero, no evidence that this would have occurred since at no point did I say that I felt that he should have been allowed to escape. But that is far different than saying that he should have been killed.

        2. tribeUSA

          Tia–re: your surgery analogy.

          The problem with your surgery analogy is that there is not a downside risk in your example of calling in for extra help in a tricky surgery; only an upside.

          However, there is an obvious downside to allowing people who have committed violent felonies to escape the scene of the crime; even if their identities (name, home address, etc.) are firmly established (I don’t know whether or not Brown’s identity could have been firmly established if he had gotton away from the officer; maybe so and maybe not; likely the officer did not know for sure either).

          How about a scenario where a completely unexpected problem comes up during surgery, and the patient has a 50% chance of dying if continuation (or discontinuation) of the surgery is attempted without outside help, unless the regional expert in that particular problem can be brought in–however, that expert specialist surgeon lives in San Francisco and it will take him 2 hours to get to the Sacramento hospital (by helicopter). Suppose that even if the patient is stabilized, he stands about a 50% chance of dying in that 2 hours before the expert specialist arrives. What do you do? In this scenario, there is a downside to waiting; just as there was in the Ferguson case by allowing the perp to get away.

      3. Frankly

        You forgot #6 – Michael Brown charged the cop that he had previously tried to take the gun from and had assaulted him.

        And that is the single most important point in consideration of the shooting.

        1. Miwok

          I have not read all the evidence, but what did Mr Brown’s friend have as a role while this went down? What did he say, if anything, to M Brown when Brown turned back to the cop?

  13. TrueBlueDevil

    Today on the radio it was aid that, regarding interracial crime, 80% of the crime is committed by African Americans against white Americans.

    They also stated when a Latino is a victim of crime, they are Latino; but when they commit crime, they are white! I believe this comes from the Justice Department … who dreamed this up??!! I wouldn’t believe it, but I recall reading it a few years back.

    I also heard that yes, Mr. Brown was under the influence of marijuana when he attacked the officer. Just like Daniel Marsh.

    1. Frankly

      Thinkprogress.com

      Judd Legum is Editor-in-Chief of ThinkProgress. Previously, Judd was the Research Director for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. 

      Aside from this indication of bias reporting, the point here is that inditement for a case that could never result in a conviction is a waste of precious taxpayer money.   If the evidence was clearly not supporting a conviction, then the DA did everyone a favor.

      1. Barack Palin

        Geez Frankly, I thought these liberals were all against DA’s over reacting and taking cases to trial that had no merit.  How many times have we heard them drone on about DA’s wasting taxpayer money on fringe cases. Here we even have the added input of a Grand Jury that says there’s no evidence for an indictment but they still harp that it’s unfair.  I just don’t get it.

  14. tribeUSA

    Tia–why lock up criminals, murderers, and rapists at all? after all there is zero evidence that they will commit another crime, it is purely hypothetical.

    Why take away a doctors license who has practiced medicine irresponsibly resulting in the death of a few patients? There is zero evidence that this will happen again, any suggestion that he might do so is purely hypothetical.

    And so we are back to statistics!

    1. Tia Will

      tribeUSA

      why lock up criminals, murderers, and rapists at all? after all there is zero evidence that they will commit another crime, it is purely hypothetical.”

      I have absolutely no idea why you asked me this question. I never said one word about anyone not being charged, tried, convicted and or being “locked up” if that is the appropriate consequence of their actions. What I did say, and what I believe to be true, is that we have no evidence that Mr. Brown committed any acts for which the death penalty would be the usual punishment, and yet he is dead.

      So what do we have ?  We have the word of Officer Wilson that he was in fear of his life. Maybe yes, maybe no. What else would he say in this situation ?  What I wrote about hypothetical situations was in response to the hypothetical that Mr. Brown killed someone. Until now, all we know is that Mr. Brown seemed to be engaged in robbery and thuggish behavior, not murder. Is any one here going to advocate for police killing suspects that might get away ( leaving a clearly visible trail of blood behind as they try to escape) and then might kill someone else ? Because it seems to me that this is the argument being made.

      Frankly

      Michael Brown charged the cop that he had previously tried to take the gun from and had assaulted him.”

      Maybe, and maybe not. This is certainly how Officer Wilson relates the event. This is one possible interpretation of the physical evidence But the witness accounts are not identical and not universally supportive of a “charge”. What if what really happened is that injured, and high, Mr. Brown decides to give up, turns back towards Officer Wilson to surrender, stumbles and starts to fall which by now is interpreted as a lunge ? What we are missing here is Mr. Brown’s version of events.

      It sounds to me as though Mr. Brown would have had about as much chance of escaping in this situation as my hypothetical patient would have had of getting up and walking away from the table. Over the past 30 or so years, it seems to me that police have been much faster to shoot to kill than was the case previously ( Rich or Don,  please correct me if this is not statistically the case). Now one may argue that this is necessary because criminals have a more dangerous arsenal now. To that I would point out that Mr. Brown was unarmed, and that Officer Wilson knew this since otherwise Mr. Brown would have had no reason to try for Officer Wilson’s weapon, he could have simply used his own. So again, here we have he choice of a police officer to shoot an unarmed man when other options existed. I do not believe that fear alone, should be enough criteria to kill another human being when there is such an obvious power discrepancy ( Officer Wilson armed with a gun, a car,  and the ability to summon back up. Mr. Brown injured, empty handed and on foot). 

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Really?

        His body was in the direction of approaching the police car, and he was feet from where the car was, after having been a much further distance away from the officer and police car.

        How did he get there? Aliens? Or are you suggesting that the officer drug his blood soaked body 20-30 feet to cover his story?

        Can I tell you when I am pulled over by an officer for a headlight or infraction, I am “Yes sir” or “yes, mam” or “Yes, officer”, I am polite, respectful, non confrontational, and follow their directions to the letter “t”.

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