St. Louis reporter: Police claim more than a dozen witnesses support the cop's account of the Michael Brown shooting

A story is coming at the Post-Dispatch, I assume, but for now this is all we have.

The only public interview I’ve seen with someone who supports Darren Wilson’s version of the shooting was Dana Loesch’s chat with “Josie,” and Josie wasn’t a witness. She claimed to be relaying Wilson’s own account of what happened. But then, go figure that locals who saw the shooting and think Brown wasn’t as innocent as he’s been portrayed might want to avoid cameras with their neighbors rioting nightly for the past week. One question as we wait for Byers’s story is whether the witnesses who have spoken to cops support Wilson’s story (via Josie) in its entirety or just select details. E.g., maybe they saw Brown mouthing off to Wilson when he told him and Dorian Johnson to get out of the street. Maybe they saw some sort of scuffle through the driver’s window between Brown and Wilson when the latter pulled up alongside. Maybe they saw him run from Wilson, then turn back. Did they see him “bum-rush” Wilson, though? A witness who corroborates Wilson on the first three points but not on the crucial last one isn’t going to help the case for self-defense much.

Meanwhile, a question regarding the protests: Is it true, as protesters have been telling the media, that the most violent actors are out-of-towners who came to Ferguson to stir things up and maybe grab some free stuff in the process? There’s no way to know exact percentages, says WaPo, but yeah, there’s definitely some “looting tourism” happening:

They are known here as “the militants” — a faction inhabiting the hard-core end of a spectrum that includes online organizers and opportunistic looters — and their numbers have been growing with the severity of their tactics since the shooting…

Some of the men are from the area — Ferguson or surrounding towns also defined in part by the gulf separating the mostly white law enforcement agencies from a mistrusting African American public. Many others — it is hard to quantify the percentage — have arrived by bus and by car from Chicago, Detroit, Brooklyn and elsewhere

“We are jobless men, and this is our job now — getting justice,” [one “militant”] said. “If that means violence, that’s okay by me. They’ve been doing this to us for years.”…

Ferguson police officials would not quantify how many looters have been arrested since the Brown shooting but presented a Washington Post reporter with a stack of roughly 50 arrest reports. While some of those arrested for stealing are from Ferguson, a large number have addresses listed in Illinois or in Texas.

It’s not just looters and people enraged over the Brown shooting. Marc Lamont Hill, who was there with CNN last night, blamed left-wing radicals for antagonizing the cops. (There was also a guy carrying an “ISIS Here”(!) banner behind Jake Tapper at one point.) My first instinct reading that was that it’s good news. Eventually the out-of-towners will give up, go home, and the situation will calm down. But what if, as this drags on night after night, it ends up attracting more out-of-towners, more “jobless men” with nothing to lose? Every day raises the odds that someone will fire a gun at the cops from the crowd and then we’ll have a scene much darker than the teargas theater that’s been playing out over the last week. In fact, as the demonstrations get more violent, it may be that the locals will start staying home to keep out of harm’s way, leaving the crowds smaller but nastier, increasingly comprised of those fidgety out-of-towners. What happens then?

Via the Corner, here’s Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice telling Tapper he thinks the violent protesters are “plants.” Gosh, I wonder who he thinks planted them.

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