The shooting of Michael Brown is indefensible

Friday, August 15, 2014

Good afternoon:

We have some new information to pass along about the Michael Brown case.

In case you do not know, police have identified Darren Wilson, 28, as the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown.

Twitter has banned Anonymous for identifying the wrong individual as the shooter.

The following evidence is interesting but irrelevant to deciding whether the shooting was justified.

Why?

Because the officer’s conduct must be judged by what he knew and the totality of the circumstances present at the scene when he fired the fatal shots.

Ferguson police chief, Thomas Jackson, has conceded that the officer did not know about the robbery.

The Ferguson Police Department has released a police report regarding a convenience-store robbery in which a suspect used physical force to steal a box of cigars from a store employee. The robbery was recorded by a store video.

The attorney who represents Dorian Johnson, who is Michael Brown’s friend, has confirmed that Michael Brown was the person who stole the box of cigars.

Jackson has been accused of releasing the report to justify the shooting and eliminate sympathy for Brown. He claims he released the report in response to a FOIA request.

This takes us back to the totality of the circumstances that Wikipedia has summarized.

On August 9, at around 12:00 p.m., Brown and Johnson were walking to Brown’s grandmother’s house. Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson drove up to them and ordered them to move off the street and onto the sidewalk. An altercation ensued, and a gun within Wilson’s police vehicle was fired, after which Brown and Johnson began to flee. Wilson left his vehicle and pursued them, then fired an unspecified number of shots, fatally wounding Brown. Brown died approximately 35 feet (11 m) from the police cruiser in the 2900 block of Canfield Drive. According to CNN correspondent Ana Cabrera, documents show that less than three minutes passed from the time that Wilson encountered Brown to the time of Brown’s death.

/snip/

According to Michael Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, who was walking with Brown at the time, the police officer pulled up beside them and said, “Get the fuck on the sidewalk. Johnson said the young men replied that they were “not but a minute away from [their] destination, and [they] would shortly be out of the street.”

Without saying anything further, Johnson states that the officer drove forward, only to abruptly back up, positioning his vehicle crossways in their path, almost hitting the two men. Said Johnson, “We were so close, almost inches away, that when he tried to open his door aggressively, the door ricocheted both off me and Big Mike’s body and closed back on the officer.”

At that point, the officer, still in his car, grabbed Brown through the open window around the neck. Brown tried to pull away, but the officer continued to pull Brown toward him.

According to Johnson, Brown “did not reach for the officer’s weapon at all,” insisting that Brown was attempting to get free of the officer rather than attempting to attack him or take his weapon from him.

At that point, according to Johnson, the officer drew his weapon, and “he said, ‘I’ll shoot you’ or ‘I’m going to shoot,'” and almost instantaneously fired his weapon, hitting Brown.

Following the initial gunshot, Johnson said that Brown was able to free himself, at which point the two fled for their lives. The officer exited the vehicle, after which he fired a second shot, striking Brown in the back. At that point, according to Johnson, Brown turned around with his hands in the air and said, “I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting!” The officer then shot Brown several more times, killing him.

/snip/

In a news conference on August 10, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar stated, “The genesis of this [shooting incident] was a physical confrontation” during which Brown “physically assaulted the police officer.” According to Belmar, the officer attempted to exit his vehicle but was pushed back into the car by Brown, who then assaulted the officer inside the car. Brown then allegedly attempted to seize the officer’s gun, which was fired at least once during the struggle. Belmar acknowledged that “more than a couple” of shots were fired in the course of the encounter.

[Citations omitted]

Johnson’s version is corroborated by other civilian witnesses.

There is no serious legal question that the shots fired after Brown raised his arms and surrendered were unnecessary and unlawful.

Even under the police version, Brown never had possession of the gun and all shots were fired by the officer.

In addition, jaywalking in most jurisdictions is a non-criminal violation punishable only by a fine. A police officer cannot arrest a person for a mere violation, if they sign a citation agreeing to pay the fine or come to court on the date and time indicated.

This shooting appears to have occurred when a white police officer lost his temper and pulled out his gun because he did not believe the two black males showed him the proper amount of respect.

That is racist and unprofessional.

The shooting was unjustifiable.

37 Responses to The shooting of Michael Brown is indefensible

  1. Malisha says:

    I think about someone walking into a neighborhood they fear, and thinking, “I could get shot at any moment by anyone for no reason.”

    Then I think about young AFrican American men for whom every neighborhood is just like this. They have to fear that in every neighborhood, don’t they?

  2. Malisha says:

    If the store robbery proves Mike Brown could be a bully and therefore makes it possible he was putting the cop in fear for his life, then we need to check the following:

    Has the cop ever srong-armed anyone, beaten his wife, sexually assaulted a girlfriend or lover, pushed around a suspect, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. That would make HIM a bully.

    Are there studies that say that a bully who will push around an older, weaker man in order to steal cigars will try (knowing that he is unarmed and that the police generally are armed) to bully cops in a patrol car?

    What are the statistics for perfect non-bully and untainted young Black men who get shot to death by police? How many perfect young victims are there? ANY?

  3. Throughthewoods says:

    First time poster.
    There is only so much real evidence available at this time for me to form an opinion as to whether or not the officer was justified in the shooting. What we can be sure of is that 1) Mike Brown was indeed a bully. The way he treated that sore owner, who was much, much smaller and older than he, was inexcusable and does go to prove he was capable of violence. 2) The eyewitness, Dorian, was also his accomplice in the theft at the store, and so, everything he says is going to be treated as suspect because his credibility will be in question. He also has motivation to tell it one way as he, himself, could be charged. 3). This whole thing will depend on forensics. The trajectory of the bullets; shell casings; was he shot in the back, etc. if shot in the front, case closed. If shot in the back, bad for the cop.
    Also, it has been determined now that, while the officer initially stopped them about not walking in the middle of the road, he then saw that Mike fit the description of the BOLO for the robbery and that he was carrying the cigars. He then claims he tried to confront them but they slammed his car door shut. The struggle ensued inside the car and Mike tried to take his gun and it went off. He claims Mike then turned and traveled about 35 ft but turned and headed back toward him as he tried to pursue on foot. Again, if shot in the back, that’s going to mean charges for the cop. But remember, the officer knew him to be a suspect in the robbery; did **not know** if he was armed or not; and had just been assaulted by Mike; then he clearly had every right to fire **If** Mike was coming towards him.
    Lots of *If’s* there. Which is why IMO, no one can say for certain if it was justifiable or criminal.
    Thanks for letting me post.

    • I disagree.

      Civilian eyewitnesses have independently confirmed Dorian Johnson’s version of events and the police chief has publicly stated that the officer was not investigating Mike Brown for the strong-arm robbery in the convenience store.

      • Throughthewoods says:

        Actually, the police chief has confirmed that, while initially the officer stopped because they were walking in the middle of the road, once he was close enough and saw the cigars in hand and realized Mike Brown fit the description of the BOLO, he realized he was a suspect in the robbery that had just occurred and attempted to detain for questioning. He claims it was Mike and Dorian who slammed his door on him. (I believe the car door thing may be one of those things that will forever be debated and we will never know for certain the truth if it).
        Again, I am of the opinion that the public does not have enough evidence to determine what exactly took place. The police are saying he assaulted officer Wilson and tried to take his gun. The officer is saying that he attempted to pursue Mike when Mike turned towards him. Cop could be lying, (There’s certainly plenty of cops who will and have lied to save their own hide). Witnesses could also be lying. (They will do that sometimes, especially when there is a wave of national frenzy such as there is in this case).
        As I stated before- and I’m standing by that statement- This case will turn on the forensic and ballistic evidence. Trajectory of the bullets, shell casings, and the bullet entries. Because in a court of law, it is forensics that usually win out over eyewitnesses, because eyewitness testimony is known to be flawed and often unreliable. After all, I’m sure most people who supported Trayvon Martin did not believe the eyewitness who claimed to have seen Martin on top of Zimmerman, pounding away at him, right? Everyone was saying he was wrong, it was dark, he lied, he changed his story, etc, etc. Because we can’t always trust eyewitness reports.
        The current situation in Ferguson is a shame. That cannot be referred to as a protest or a demonstration. It is flagrant violence and theft, and there is no excuse for it. None at all. And it is doing their cause and their community harm, not good. Not by any stretch.
        Have a good evening.

        • That isn’t what the police chief said the first time and he has demonstrated a strong bias in favor of his department and a strong prejudice against the residents of Ferguson.

          He also released the store video against the advice of the feds and Captain Ron Johnson, in effect pouring gasoline on a fire.

          I do not believe him.

    • Disappointed says:

      Witnesses said the officer fired while Michael ran away. Michael then turned around with arms up and the officer shot again. So basically the cop shot Michael running away (obviously if fleeing he’s not a threat) and shot him again when he turned around and had hands up (universal I surrender). Looks bad IMO for any of the shots.

    • bettykath says:

      I agree with FL and with Disappointed. The struggle wasn’t inside the car, nor outside. The cop was in the car and Michael was outside of it trying to get away.

      There is an aspect of the story that I wonder about. Johnson says the car backed up and then went sideways on the street, sideswiping them. The cop started to get out of the car but he hit Michael with the door. Michael pushed on the door rather than stepping back. That’s when it got nasty. Michael’s quite big. He’s probably used to pushing back rather than retreating. (See store video. He ignored the store employee until the employee went after him and then Michael pushed him away). Having someone keep him from doing what he wanted to do probably made the cop angry, raging angry, killing angry. Was there a struggle for the gun? don’t know. BUT shooting a person who is running away or shooting someone with his hands in the air is waaaay over the top. This cop apparently did both. Parents are getting an independent autopsy and their attorneys will be making it public.

  4. Two sides to a story says:

    OT – Dr. Shiping Bao has a little book out. He was apparently interviewed by the Justice Department this summer.

    http://mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2014/8/12/zimmerman_trial_medi.html

    • Malisha says:

      Obvious that the prosecutors wanted Fogen to walk. Disgusting and shameful. The biggest tell was “NO REBUTTAL.”

      BDLR and Simino might just as well have killed Trayvon Martin themselves; may they rot as if there’s a Hell.

      Bao was the only one of the lot with balls.

      • roderick2012 says:

        Bao was the only one of the lot with balls.

        I disagree.

        Bao only did the right thing after he was fired.

        Bao went along with the conspiracy and after he had assisted Corey’s minions in throwing the case he was expendable.

        Bao is no better than Shelly who only came to her senses after Piglet left town without her after she had stood by him during his trial like Tammy Wynette.

    • Thank you for the heads up.

  5. PhillyBoyRoy says:

    Not that it matters – the thug cop still shot a surrendering, unarmed “suspect”, which is murder – but I am hesitant to accept that the man in the robbery pictures is actually Mike Brown. They are not wearing the same clothes, shoes, or socks; they have different haircuts; different builds, etc.

    Looks like another smear-job.

    • masonblue says:

      Crane-Station here. Don’t have the link handy, but apparently Brown’s friend Dorian may have confirmed that. Either way, what the officer did does not resemble due process in any way, shape or form.

      • MichelleO says:

        I hope you two are doing well. Tell me: Are the problems you’re experiencing related to the Fogan matter?

        • Frederick Leatherman says:

          Crane-Station here. Thank you for asking and no, we do not believe it is related to that case. The attack is primarily directed at me. During the home invasion, for example, it was my intellectual property (ie, Frog Gravy notes) and my legal case file, as well as a huge amount of my personal information, that was stolen. Likewise, the cyber-hacking was initially directed at me, and rendered at least two of my computers inoperable. In short, someone does not care for my writing on a specific topic.

      • PhillyBoyRoy says:

        I trust your reporting.

        On the other hand, I also find it utterly bizarre that the report of this petty theft had Brown’s and Dorian Johnson’s name on it, minutes after it happened.

        How did they know the names of the “suspects” when they were typing up the police report? Seems as though the report was written after the murder, the timestamps were forged, and the facts were used to fit their version of the story.

        It all seems odd to say the least.

    • MichelleO says:

      His mother says that he told her of a premonition of his death; saying that he dreamt that his body was covered in a white sheet and that his name became famous. How sad. I wished that he had thought of this when he stole those cigars. It was the perfect storm putting him in the path of this murderous police officer.

      • Malisha says:

        The cop had no knowledge of the cigar theft when he encountered Brown; it is unrelated. The only reason it was revealed was to reinforce the already obvious lack of concern for African American life.

        • PhillyBoyRoy says:

          While I still believe the whole robbery b.s. is made up, you’re absolutely right.

          It’s like the “tools in his backpack” angle that right-wingers took regarding Trayvon.

          He had tools in his backpack (used for breaking in to houses, no doubt!) – therefore Zimmerman is justified for shooting him.

  6. Malisha says:

    This shooting was a rage crime. The cop, for his own reasons (we can never know them but they are not hard to imagine) felt entitled to take out his personal problems on an African American teen-ager. Although B-37 was wrong and a racist liar when she said that the Trayvon Martin shooting had resulted in “some riots,” this one will probably result in “some riots.” There comes a time when all the cheating, lying, murdering, justifying, thieving, etc. of the rape culture has to just plain boil over and lead to out and out uncontrollable violence and the police in St. Louis are certainly qualified to cause such an eventuality, if anybody ever was.

    • CS here. Well said, thank you.

    • You ere right Malisha. Those folks in that town have had generstional oppression by those cops. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. They are as mad as hell, and they are taking no more. I am sure that you saw the press conference today about the curfew, and the governor could not get out of there fast enough. Until this cop is arrested, it is only going to get worse.

    • You ere right Malisha. Those folks in that town have had generational oppression by those cops. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. They are as mad as hell, and they are taking no more. I am sure that you saw the press conference today about the curfew, and the governor could not get out of there fast of enough.

  7. CS here.

    “They just killed him for no reason” “He had his hands up and everything, and they just killed him in the street.”

    Warning, graphic video:

    Mike Brown EyeWitness Crime Scene Video Ferguson, MO

  8. Two sides to a story says:

    Sorry, I have a twitter post in moderation because it came out with more than one link.

  9. Two sides to a story says:

    The far right is already busy.

    KKK 'raising money' for cop who shot unarmed African-American teen #MichaelBrown.. http://t.co/jMYSuWfmgd pic.twitter.com/pybDb3Jvr7— HuffPost UK (@HuffPostUK) August 15, 2014

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