CNN source: Darren Wilson didn't suffer an eye socket fracture

I want to make sure after yesterday’s post that everyone knows it’s still in dispute whether Wilson’s eye socket was actually fractured in his altercation with Michael Brown.

What’s apparently not in dispute is that Wilson somehow emerged from the incident with part of his face swollen.

The extent of the injury matters insofar as the worse it is, the stronger Wilson’s defense will be that he reasonably feared serious injury from Brown when he allegedly charged at him. But it probably doesn’t matter that much: Obviously, the complexion of a case in which an unarmed man is shot dead changes if the defendant was attacked just moments before, especially if that attack involved going for the defendant’s gun. If the victim’s intent to harm is proved, establishing that Wilson’s fear of Brown was reasonable, then he’s one-third of the way to self-defense. He’d also have to show that Brown was advancing on him, a claim the prosecution will try to disprove, and further that Brown was so dangerous that Wilson was justified in using lethal force in bringing him down. Not an easy task given that Brown had no weapon of his own, but then that’s why the injury is important.

Incidentally, Patterico points out that the news about the swelling in Wilson’s face isn’t new. It was new to me when Jim Hoft first wrote about it earlier this week and probably new to you too, but it turns out that Ferguson’s chief of police mentioned it — at a press conference — all the way back on August 13th. Reuters flagged it at the time but I hadn’t seen a single other major source mention it despite its obvious relevance to Wilson’s looming defense. And I’m following the Ferguson story reasonably closely as part of my bloggy duties. How come? How come the injury isn’t a standard fact mentioned whenever the media’s recounting what may or may not have happened between Brown and Wilson when they encountered each other?

Via RCP, here’s CNN noodling the credibility of witnesses in the case. Brooke Baldwin makes a fair point: A population that’s afraid of its police force might be reluctant to come forward in a case like this and tell the police things they don’t want to hear. One virtue of the Ferguson protests is that they may have emboldened some witnesses with facts that incriminate Wilson to speak up.

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