Your move, New York Times.
The signs of easing tensions came as a family friend of the officer who fatally shot Brown came forward to offer a version of the incident with new details, saying that the officer suffered a fracture to his eye socket in a scuffle with the unarmed teenager before opening fire.
Hospital X-rays of the injury have been taken and will be shared with a grand jury that is weighing evidence to determine whether Officer Darren Wilson should be charged in the shooting, said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of threats. The friend has been in contact with Wilson’s family members…
In his account to close confidants, Wilson has repeatedly said he thought Brown was acting erratically when they had an altercation on a street in a garden apartment complex in Ferguson. He said that Brown was coming at him when he fired the fatal shots.
“Darren was adamant that he believed Michael Brown had some drugs in his system,” the friend said.
The DA’s office says Wilson will be invited to appear before the grand jury but they admit that they haven’t interviewed him. Whether that’s because Wilson doesn’t want to talk to them (yet) or because they feel they don’t need to talk to him before seeking an indictment is unclear.
Over at NRO, Charles Cooke wonders: What if we’ve already seen all of the relevant prosecution evidence in the Brown shooting? Is there any way that the D.A. gets a conviction here? According to the Times, “many” witnesses agree that there was a struggle between Brown and Wilson while Wilson was still in his squad car. They also agree that Wilson’s gun discharged before he got out, that Brown started running, that Wilson fired at him while Brown’s back was to him, and that Brown finally stopped and turned to face him. They disagree on what happened after that. Some say Brown advanced towards Wilson, others say he stayed put. Maybe the state can do something with forensics to show whether Brown was moving forward when he was hit, but if not, it’ll be a test of credibility between the prosecution’s witnesses and the defense’s. And it’s a heavy lift to get from there to “beyond a reasonable doubt,” especially if Wilson has medical records showing that Brown had already hit him hard enough to break bone. Once you produce some evidence to show justifiable homicide, the burden falls on the prosecution to disprove it. Unless the jury decides that there’s simply no plausible scenario in which an armed man reasonably needs to use lethal force to repel an attack from a man who’s unarmed, the D.A. will have trouble.
Makes me wonder if maybe the state will zero in on Wilson shooting at Brown’s back while he was fleeing and try to get some sort of conviction out of that. That would be awfully tricky — it would be bizarre for Wilson to be acquitted of murder on self-defense grounds but convicted on attempted murder or negligence grounds for the shots he fired just moments before the fatal shots. If the first shots at Brown’s back were criminal, didn’t Brown then have a self-defense right of his own to try to disarm Wilson? If he was acting in his own self-defense, how can Wilson claim self-defense on the shots that ended up killing Brown?