Darren Wilson’s radio calls do not support a claim of self-defense

Monday, November 17, 2014

Good morning:

Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014 sometime between 12:02 pm, when he told dispatch, “Put me on Canfield with two. [an apparent reference to stopping Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson] And send me another car,” and 12:03 pm when someone posted a tweet about the shooting.

His radio calls do not support his claim of self-defense.

According to a timeline in the St.Louis Dispatch,

11:53 am

Police dispatcher reports a “stealing in progress” at the Ferguson Market.

11:53:19 am

Dispatcher reports that the suspect stole a box of Swisher cigars and describes him as a black male wearing a white T-shirt running toward QuikTrip.

11:57 pm

The dispatcher reports that the suspect is wearing a red Cardinals hat, a white T-shirt, yellow socks and khaki shorts, and is accompanied by another man.

12:00 pm

Wilson reports that he’s back in service from the sick-baby call. He then asks the officers searching for the thieves – units 25 and 22 – if they need him.

12:00:07 pm

An unidentified officer broadcasts that the suspects had disappeared.

12:02 pm

Wilson says, “21. Put me on Canfield with two. And send me another car.”

Sources have told the Post-Dispatch that Wilson has told authorities that before the radio call he had stopped to tell Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, 22, to quit walking down the middle of the street. They kept walking, and he then realized that Brown matched the description of the suspect in the stealing call.

12:02:41 pm

Unit 25 reports that he is about to arrive at Wilson’s location, saying he is “going out on Canfield” and accompanied by the sound of his racing engine.

12:02:48 pm

Unit 22 reports that he has arrived at the scene.

12:23 pm

Someone tweets about the shooting.

My Observations

1) The 911 caller reported a theft of a box of Swisher cigars, which is a misdemeanor shoplift, not a robbery.

2) Wilson’s statement to the dispatcher, “Put me on Canfield with two. And send me another car,” does not indicate why he stopped the two people. For example, he may have intended to issue them citations for jaywalking and he may have called for backup as a precaution because the two boys had disobeyed him. His post-shooting explanation (i.e., that he realized Brown matched the description of the suspect in the stealing call after they ignored his order to get out of the middle of the street) may or may not be true. I suspect he lied about that because he did not fill out an offense report explaining why he decided to stop them and the police chief publicly stated that Wilson did not know they were the two suspects.

3) Wilson shot and killed Brown sometime between 12:02 pm, when he asked for backup, and 12:03 pm, when someone tweeted about the shooting. I suspect it happened before 12:02:41, when the officer in vehicle 25 reported that he was going on Canfield and 12:02:48, when the officer in vehicle 22 reported that he had arrived at the scene and was out of his vehicle. Apparently, neither officer witnessed the shooting, so I am inferring that it happened before they arrived.

4) I am not convinced that Wilson suffered any injuries during his encounter with Brown. If so, they are not apparent in the videos from the police station.

5) I believe the most likely explanation for what happened is Wilson backed-up, stopped and pushed his door open intending to get out and confront the two boys. The door hit both boys and Brown pushed it back hitting Wilson in the head as he was attempting to get out. Wilson lost his temper and reached through the open window with his left hand grabbing and holding on to Brown’s arm as he drew his gun with his right hand and pointed it toward Brown. Brown attempted to prevent Wilson from shooting him but was unsuccessful as one of the two shots injured his right hand. This explanation is consistent with Dorian Johnson’s description of what happened and also consistent with the autopsy report and the presence of gunshot residue on Brown’s right hand.

6) Brown broke free from Wilson’s grip and ran away to avoid being shot a second time. Dorian Johnson also ran.

7) Wilson gave chase squeezing off shots at Brown.

8) Brown realized he was not going to get away, so he stopped, turned around and was raising his hands as he dropped to his knees to surrender.

9) Wilson kept shooting and finished him off as Brown was leaning forward looking at the ground as he dropped to his knees. This version is consistent with Brown’s injuries.

10) Brown’s body was about 100 feet from Wilson’s vehicle, which makes it extremely unlikely that he bull-rushed Wilson.

11) Finally, I do not believe a person who literally ran for his life after having been shot, would suddenly stop fleeing, turn around and bull-rush the shooter.

As I have said many times, there is probable cause to believe that Wilson intentionally shot and killed Brown in the heat of anger.

Wilson should be indicted and tried for murder.

Brown’s family and the people who live in Ferguson deserve no less.

42 Responses to Darren Wilson’s radio calls do not support a claim of self-defense

  1. Reblogged this on The Tattered Rose and commented:
    This is a concise and logical analysis/interpretation of the facts in the case involving the fatal shooting of unarmed black man, Mike Brown, by a white police officer, Darren Wilson.

  2. MDX says:

    Seriously though, what are a citizen’s rights if an officer assaults you?

    That, IMO, is the question we should all be asking, and, the answer to that question, as it stands today, should make us ashamed.

    In a just society, a police officer should be held to a higher standard than a citizen. For they are a public servant.

    In the USA, protect and serve has become do as your told and grovel.

  3. willisnewton says:

    From a legal standpoint, what are a citizen’s rights if a police officer uses profanity to instruct you to move to a sidewalk, and then when you respond verbally, the officer almost, or does, strike you with his vehicle in a reckless manner and then grabs you, giving no instructions at all? Are you to assume you are being arrested, or react as though you are being assaulted in an extralegal fashion? Do you possess a right to defend yourself against murderous cops acting in erratic ways?

    No witnesses who have gone public to date say that ofc. Wilson acted to do anything other than to murder Mike Brown. To date, no one can confirm he ever yelled “stop, halt, you’re under arrest, etc.” to the two teens. Johnson recalls Wilson told Brown he would shoot him. Is this a police order that one has to obey? Should Brown have “complied” with that pronouncement and stood still while Wilson unladed his weapon on him? (Oh, yeah, he did, 100 feet later.)

    Seriously though, what are a citizen’s rights if an officer assaults you?

    • Bill Taylor says:

      in ferguson you have the right to bleed ONLY if you dont get any on the officers beating you down clothing…..in the military we were taught you have a DUTY to refuse an illegal order and right to resist when assaulted.

    • PhillyBoyRoy says:

      I don’t think it’s overly cynical to say, we have none, and even less than none, if we are black.

      Seriously, if a cop wants to kill you while on duty, he does not need a reason and will do it. Lies, victim-blaming, and a thorough cover-up will follow; you’re dead and can’t say squat.

    • In many states there is no right to resist an unlawful arrest.

      As a practical matter, resistance is futile and most likely will get you killed or tased multiple times. That might happen even if you don’t resist. Either way they will lie and say you started it.

      Best defense is a a hidden camera or a friend with a camera, although that is illegal in some states like Maryland, for example.

  4. Bill Taylor says:

    a question for ALL, IF rather than wilson Brown had encountered a black person and they argued then fought with Brown punching him and then pulling away and running and the guy then pulls his weapon and starts shooting, Brown turns and the guy keeps shooting, would the black citizen shooter be arrested on the spot?

  5. MRS 44.100.1(1) authorizes a declaration of emergency only if a major disaster has occurred. Therefore, a preemptive declaration of emergency is unlawful.

    Governor Nixon has scheduled a presser for 6:15 pm.

  6. Disappointed says:

    Why did he issue state of Emergency? They have been talking about this for a week. Everyone is pretty much in agreement. Grand jury will issue no bill. No one has resorted to violence in last week. Smh

    Fred I get what you are saying. My thought is people are being gunned down. First thing out of shooters mouth I feared for my life. I’m not saying serious bodily injury should happen first but their needs to be injuries to back up shooting someone. Maybe I’m crazy but if a person is running away why would you continue firing. The threat is not there. Jmo

    • PhillyBoyRoy says:

      If this happened to any one of us – shot someone who witnesses claim was running away – we would have at least faced trial, if not seen extensive jail time for murder.

      Darren Wilson is a privileged racist white cop.

    • MDX says:

      Fred. IMO, is emphasizing context.

      For example, if a guy came at me with an ax, I could claim self defense, and not need wounds to make my claim reasonable.

      And context applies to Officer Wilson.

      What made Brown a lethal threat, in a reasonable sense, after he was shot in the arm and was running away?

      He went for the gun?

      Well, he did not get the gun. Wilson did, and already used it at least once with effect.

      Fight or flight.

      This is a primal and very binary human trait. A human, once they break and run, will keep on going till they have removed themselves from the threat – which, in the case of Brown, is a stream of lead either hitting or passing close. If the human can not reach cover, then, due to both emotional and physical exhaustion, the victim becomes resigned to their fate – they surrender.

      To claim that Brown could, after going into flight mode and being subject to a constant barrage of lead, would rally and decide to make a rush is absurd, unless one assumes he has traits that are not human – which is what racists do.

      One hundred feet away.

      Why, once you have the victim under fire, would you move closer, if you feared for your life?

      He is big.

      So is Wilson.

      IMO, unless there is some sort of very good evidence we are not aware of, Wilson should be charged of some form of murder, based on probable cause.

  7. sonniq says:

    This whole thing stinks. I’ts pretty obvious what happened. The fact that there are so many people and organizations that are trying to make it something it is not is deplorable. If he isn’t held accountable for what he did, what we saw in Ferguson will be small thing compared to what will be next. The black population is very tired of White police officers getting off the hook for the things they have done and I don’t blame them. If it happened with a black person shooting a white boy they would string him up for it. Things have to change and the law shouldn’t be worked like a pliable gummy worm to make it seem like something it is not.

    • Malisha says:

      I should think any African American living in Missouri would have adequate cause to claim refugee status in any foreign democracy; I would think a showing that the police are permitted to kill African Americans without cause or charge would be proof enough that the State of Missouri provides a hostile, dangerous environment that is exactly the condition we grant asylum for, to people who make it into our country from somewhere else where they are endangered.

  8. MDX says:

    I also do not like how the report of a robbery by a customer is now taken as 100% proof of a robbery.

    The videos show a first box given to Johnson and Brown reaching and grabbing for a second box wherein Brown proceeds to open and take a few cigars out of the box and Johnson puts the the first box back.

    That would be like a bank robbery wherein one bag of money is given back and only $100 out of a bag of $1000 is actually taken.

    IOW, it does not add up.

    IMO, there was a dispute in which Brown felt he was not being given what he wanted.

    I know the media likes to play the “noble” immigrant store owner fiddle, but having spent over seven years in that business. I can assure you that some cheat their customers.

    For example, a Korean market I use to go to sold me a box of graham crackers crawling with baby roaches and also had canned food clearly stamped “not for resale” on the top.

    And one Chaldean dude I worked for would switch the labels on his beer kegs such that Red White and Blue became Michelob.

    Without audio or ear witness testimony, I feel that it is equally plausible, the clerk or store owner may have been trying to sell cigarillos that were past due date, and Brown, albeit wrongly, decided to grab what he felt he paid for and take it.

    For why else would have only took some?

    And then there is the issue of “the assault” on the clerk.

    I worked is stores wherein the customers were either African American or Southern white and both cultures consider touching rude to the maximum.

    IOW, if they touched me or I touched them, a physical response was not to be unexpected.

    In the video, the clerk grabs at Brown BEFORE he gets shoved off.

    • Bill Taylor says:

      why did the police LIE over the radio and days later in a written report? they clearly claim a BOX of cigars was stolen when the video clearly shows it NEVER happened and they also know they did NOT recover a BOX from Brown? the police have LIED in every issue in this case.

      • J4TMinATL says:

        Dispatch says a box of cigarollos was stolen.
        Dispatch is just dispatching, not determining facts.

        • Bill Taylor says:

          there was NO box of cigars stolen….dispatch is repeating a LIE.

          • J4TMinATL says:

            Dispatch dispatches what is given to them by callers. They are not police officers. Blame the caller, geez.

            It doesn’t matter. So what if he stole them.

          • You’re right. Wilson has to be judged by what he knew when he saw the two boys and what he witnessed after that.

            He did not know anything about a robbery because the dispatcher reported a theft, not a robbery. A theft of Swisher cigars would have been a misdemeanor and not a felony, so there was no excuse for gunplay.

            And there’s also good reason to believe he did not suspect the two boys had shoplifted the cigars when he stopped them for jaywalking.

            He overreacted and was in the wrong the whole time.

          • Bill Taylor says:

            WRONG, dispatch got their info from an officer unless civilians can use the police radios?

          • Bill Taylor says:

            if wilson thought they had anything to do with the robbery at first he wouldnt have told them to get the F off the street, he would have confronted them about the theft at that time…….from his first call until the death is less than 90 seconds possibly much closer to one minute……..his call at 1202 and a tweet about the death at 1203……….the sensible thing that happened is he cursed at the to get off the street then drove on and one maybe both of them said something back to him and he slammed into reverse almost hitting them and opened his door into them exactly as Johnson described(except him and Mike cursing back)……the door closing angered wilson so he grabbed Mike through the window and drew his weapon saying i will shoot you and then did exactly that as Mike fought to get away….from there on wilson has NO excuse for any of the rest of the shots fired….and he knew he had screwed up big time and also knew dead folks cant tell their story.

      • MDX says:

        Bad enough that they lie, but worse that our media repeats it as fact, without subjecting the evidence to critical review.

        And this is an important “fact” to impugn Brown.

        He “could” have “rushed” Wilson because the video “proves” he was a violent thief.

        Violent?

        If he was a thug and violent, he could have easily picked up that clerk and body slammed him into the shelves.

        What he actually did was shove the clerk away and then make a glare/gesture to keep the clerk from trying again.

    • I also do not like how the report of a robbery by a customer is now taken as 100% proof of a robbery.

      The only relevant fact for the purpose of determining whether Wilson acted lawfully, is what the dispatcher said over the radio. The dispatcher said a box of Swisher cigars was “stolen.”

      That means a shoplift, not a robbery, which requires a forceful taking. The video isn’t relevant because Wilson had not seen it before the shooting.

      I agree with everything else you say.

      • Malisha says:

        I can’t see how patrol cars will be concerning themselves with shoplifted cigars, if there even WERE shoplifted cigars. WTF?

        Besides which: Why would anybody in Ferguson MO ever ever call the police for any reason? What’s THAT about? You call those thugs and they come around and effin kill somebody!

        We cannot avoid being a police state in ten minutes. Today I was downtown in the dark and I saw a police car and instead of thinking, “Oh good, a police car,” I thought, “Oh NO! A police car!”

        • Two sides to a story says:

          Not a lot of good happens around here when cop cars start hanging around. Once in awhile they nab a real criminal.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      could be a dispute about ID to buy tobacco products. could be a lot of things.

  9. Trisha says:
  10. Trisha says:

    The Gov issued a state of emergency

    • Bill Taylor says:

      no state of emergency exists unless the police plan to create it……this is a move to say NO protesting will be allowed, a suspension of peoples rights for NO reason……..that police dept. is full of criminals and needs to be disbanded……

  11. Two sides to a story says:

    So, do you think the Feds will step in if the STL GJ produces a “no bill”?

  12. Bill Taylor says:

    you cant make this stuff up……a furgeson officer was arrested last week for RAPE inside the jail building and the news media is silent……that department is obviously nothing but a criminal enterprise.

  13. Disappointed says:

    IMO self defense laws need looked at. No citizen or police officer should be able to shoot someone and claim self defense if the other person is unarmed. There should be automatic trial. I also think if there is a struggle the wounds on shooter need to be obvious and not obvious boo boos. Fogen had boo boos and the officer did not appear to have any. A scratch is not deadly force. What happened to meet force with force? Equal force. Does this not exist?

    • I understand your frustration with the SYG laws and I also am frustrated, but I don’t believe hard-and-fast rules are a solution.

      For example, a hard-and-fast rule that a police officer cannot claim self-defense, if the person he shot was unarmed, would produce a wrongful conviction, if he reasonably believed the person was armed.

      Similarly, is it reasonable to require a serious injury before the injured person can use deadly force in self-defense? If so, where does one draw the line between serious and not serious enough?

      For better or worse, we have settled on the reasonableness of a perception that the killer believed he was in imminent danger of death or serious injury when he used deadly force in self-defense.

      As in all crimes where the actor’s knowledge or intent is in issue, we have to look at the totality of the circumstances, including what the actor said and did, to decide if the presumption of innocence was overcome by proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Sometimes, as in Smith, Wafer and Dunn2 juries don’t have any trouble deciding that the defendant’s use of deadly force was unreasonable. Other times, like the jury in Zimmerman and Judge Masipa in Pistorius, they can’t get there.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      I agree – I think there need to be some hard and fast rules about self defense because clearly too many people cheat to cover their hineys. It’s always a good thing to err in favor of life.

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