Indict Officer Darren Wilson For Violating Michael Brown's Civil Rights By Unlawfully Depriving Him Of Life
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After Michael Brown Was Demonized It was Easy For Grand Jury To Let Officer Darren Wilson, His Killer, Walk
On August 9 Michael Brown, an 18-year old unarmed teenager was shot multiple times and killed by Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson, MO., police department who fired 12 times at him.
Yesterday, a St. Louis County Grand Jury declined to indict Officer Wilson because, according to St. Louis Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, who should have recused himself from directing the proceedings, it did not find probable cause that Wilson committed a crime when he shot and killed Brown, including with a bullet in his eye and on the top of his head.
But Officer Wilson was not engaged in self-defense action at the moment he fired the fatal shots at the boy who was not attacking him.
Officer Wilson was also not engaged in legitimate police action such as attempting to arrest Brown, otherwise he could have shot him in the legs to disable him.
By shooting Brown multiple times, including in the right eye and on the top of the head, Wilson intended to kill Brown.
Shortly after the August 9 shooting, Wilson did not offer his alleged defense --fear for his life during the initial encounter-- and justification, until two months after the incident.
Wilson's supporters "leaked" his alleged defense to The New York Times which published two accounts similar to the rationalization provided for Wilson's shooting and killing of Brown by Prosecutor McCulloch on November 24. During the announcement McCulloch sounded like a defense attorney for Wilson, making a bizarre extended speech that focused on attacking the news media.
The fact that The New York Times was able to publish Wilson's rationalization for shooting Brown on October 17, and stating that "officials" didn't believe Wilson would be indicted means that it could not have been true, as McCulloch contended on November 24, that the Grand Jury had only just arrived at that conclusion and decision.
This of course raises the questions about McCulloch's impartiality and those of people working with him.
There were many demands that McCulloch recuse himself or that governor Jay Nixon replace him with an independent prosecutor; Gov. Nixon ineptly refused.
As St. Louis County prosecutor McCulloch has close professional working relations with police in St. Louis. Several of his relatives work or worked for the police department and his own father, who was a cop, was killed by a Black man while on the line of duty.
In the initial days after the shooting death of Michael Brown, the Ferguson Police Department could have quickly presented Officer Wilson's claim that he and Brown had struggled for his gun and that he feared for his life during the encounter.
Instead the Ferguson police department delayed revelation of Wilson's identity. Then on the same day that he was identified, Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson released a video purportedly showing Brown shop lifting cigarillos from a convenience store and referred numerous times to a "strong arm robbery." Jackson claimed release of the video had nothing to do with the encounter between Brown and Wilson. (Later, Ferguson police claimed that at some point during the encounter Wilson "noticed" the cigarillos on Brown and concluded that he must have been involved in the shop lifting).
The real purpose of releasing the video was to demonize Brown and it had the desired effect. The New York Times subsequently published a story on August 24 about Brown, who like millions of Americans smoked weed -- and the article must have thrilled Ferguson police.
This is what The Times wrote in part: "Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel, with public records and interviews with friends and family revealing both problems and promise in his young life. Shortly before his encounter with Officer Wilson, the police say he was caught on a security camera stealing a box of cigars, pushing the clerk of a convenience store into a display case. He lived in a community that had rough patches, and he dabbled in drugs and alcohol."
So Brown suffered two additional shots soon after his August 9 killing.
To begin with, Wilson was in an aggressive mood when he approached Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson who were walking in the streets, not committing any crime. According to Johnson Officer Wilson told the two boys to "Get the fuck on the sidewalk" which is certainly consistent with how many police officers speak to young Black males. (In his own testimony one would not expect Wilson to say that's what he told the boys instead he says he told them: “Why don’t you guys walk on the sidewalk?” and that it was Brown, now dead, who responded, “Fuck what you have to say.”)
From the way Wilson approached the boys, according to Johnson, one can conclude that from that point onwards the encounter could not have become more pleasant.
And even if, as Wilson now claims, he feared for his life during his initial interaction with Brown by his car while he was still inside, there are many problems with his narrative. His own actions undermine his alleged defense.
1. Had Wilson shot and killed Brown right there during the encounter at the window his purported defense, that he feared for his life because Brown tried to grab his gun would have been more credible, even if it was not based on fact.
2. Once Brown, who had already apparently been shot started running away from Officer Wilson, and was therefore no longer engaged in an alleged attack on him, why did Wilson still run after him; especially if, as he claimed, he had been fearful for his life?
3. If Wilson was legitimately fearful of Michael Brown, who was in full retreat, why was he also not as fearful of Dorian Johnson? In his testimony to the St. Louis Grand Jury he claimed later he "saw Brown put his hand under his shirt toward his waistband" which is almost what every cop who shoots someone who was unarmed says (in the case of Amadou Diallo remember the cops claimed they also saw his hand move towards his body -- and that they later discovered it was a wallet). If indeed at some point Wilson believed Brown had a gun why didn't he conclude that his colleague Johnson may have also had a gun shoot him to?
4. Is it more credible that Wilson so angered by whatever had transpired during his initial interaction with Brown that he had decided to chase him down and shoot him and kill him even though he was fleeing and in full retreat? Did he not shoot Johnson because he was not angry at him?
5. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal on November 25, about 60 witnesses testified before the St. Louis Grand jury. Sixty? 60 witnesses could not have been at the scene of the shooting or seen what happened. So what did they testify to or were they brought to try and tarnish the testimonies of the few African American witnesses who were actually there and saw parts of the shooting -- including Brown running away from Wilson and being chased down and shot?
6. Once Brown had stopped running and was facing Officer Wilson, a trained law enforcement agent, why was he not able to arrest Brown, who was unarmed instead of killing him? This is of course a problem in Wilson's narrative, including the versions leaked and published in The New York Times; frankly the articles read like publicity pieces for Wilson as we showed in a critique and they may have helped to make it easier for the Grand Jury to return a no true bill.
7. So the way Wilson gets around this road block is when his supporters who leaked the story to The New York Times claimed there were witnesses who claim Brown was seen "moving" towards Wilson, even though several African American witnesses say he appeared to be surrendering when shot to death. Perhaps the only "witnesses" who saw Brown moving towards the officer was Wilson himself and the African American who was actually describing Brown's forward death plunge after he had already been shot (that would certainly get us more than the one singular "witness.")
8. Let's assume that Brown, who had been running away from Wilson because he did not want to get killed, now, inexplicably decided to move towards Wilson, knowing full well that he would be killed by the same gun that he had been fleeing from. Would that in itself justify shooting and killing the boy?
Of course not. The question would still remain: why not shoot him in the legs, even multiple times? His legs must have been visible and he must have been standing straight facing Wilson since that's the only way Brown could have been shot in the right eye.
9. So during his Grand Jury testimony (by this time Wilson has been well coached) the officer comes up with an explanation he knows will resonate given the way Black males have been demonized in this country. Yes, had Brown been a normal human being, perhaps Wilson might have considered shooting him in the legs to immobilize him. But Brown wasn't a normal human being as Wilson tells members of the Grand Jury according to published accounts of his testimony: "At this point I start backpedaling and again, I tell him get on the ground, get on the ground; he doesn't. I shoot another round of shots. Again, I don't recall how many him every time. I know at least once because he flinched again. At this point 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 that he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn't even there, I wasn't even anything in his way."
Elsewhere, also playing the race card, Wilson said of Brown that 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."
10. So in essence Wilson was able to deliver the final touches on the demonizing Michael Brown: the first instance was chief Jackson's release of the shop lifting video; the second was the New York Times discovering that Brown wasn't an angel; and now Wilson revealing that, in fact, he was a "demon."
These are the reasons why the Grand Jury did not indict Darren Wilson.
Given the choice of a White man in law enforcement uniform and a demonic pot-smoking cigarillo-stealing Black teenager the choice was simple.
That's why Darren Wilson's innocence or guilt must be decided by a real jury, not by a process manipulated by a prosecutor and willing media outlets.
Officer Wilson was not engaged in self defense when he chased down Michael Brown and killed him.
Absent self-defense and/or legitimate police work, which would have been arresting Brown, Officer Wilson engaged in unlawful actions.
He violated Michael Brown's human rights and civil rights by depriving him of his most most precious possession -- the right to life.
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