The NYT reported this morning that law-enforcement sources say Wilson suffered an unspecified injury during his altercation with Brown. Fox News’s source is more specific: It was indeed an eye socket fracture, as Jim Hoft claimed yesterday.
Why’d it take 11 days for this to leak? No idea, but the conspicuous delay won’t do the cops any favors in getting skeptics to believe it. Nor, of course, will that cellphone video showing Wilson at the scene right after the shooting, in no obvious distress from having reportedly been beaten “severely.”
Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer whose fatal shooting of Michael Brown touched off more than a week of demonstrations, suffered severe facial injuries, including an orbital (eye socket) fracture, and was nearly beaten unconscious by Brown moments before firing his gun, a source close to the department’s top brass told FoxNews.com.
“The Assistant (Police) Chief took him to the hospital, his face all swollen on one side,” said the insider. “He was beaten very severely.”…
“They ignored him and the officer started to get out of the car to tell them to move,” the source said. “They shoved him right back in, that’s when Michael Brown leans in and starts beating Officer Wilson in the head and the face.
The source claims that there is “solid proof” that there was a struggle between Brown and Wilson for the policeman’s firearm, resulting in the gun going off – although it still remains unclear at this stage who pulled the trigger. Brown started to walk away according to the account, prompting Wilson to draw his gun and order him to freeze. Brown, the source said, raised his hands in the air, and turned around saying, “What, you’re going to shoot me?”
So there’s a theory that has Brown with his hands raised but not exactly in surrender mode. This account also very closely tracks the story “Josie” told Dana Loesch last week about what happened between Wilson and Brown, although Josie didn’t claim that Brown had badly injured Wilson, just that he had punched him. There’s something missing from this account too: The Times claims that “many” witnesses have told the police that Wilson fired at Brown while he was running away after the altercation, with his back to Wilson. (I’ve noticed that detail in some of the eyewitness accounts myself.) Was Wilson allowed to use deadly force to stop a suspect who’d just assaulted him but who was attempting to leave the scene and not apparently armed? Here’s what Missouri law says. Click the image to enlarge:
Here's the operative Missouri statute governing police use of deadly force to effect a felony arrest. pic.twitter.com/kd0sM8szkS
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) August 15, 2014
That might earn him an acquittal, but a statute that authorizes shooting people in the back to keep them from running away isn’t a statute that’s going to hold up well among the public once the media spotlight is on it.
Meanwhile, two vids that are making the rounds will show you what’s been happening in Ferguson over the past 24 hours. The first one shows an officer pointing his weapon at protesters and telling them “I will f***ing kill you– get back!” even though the guy with the camera claims he has his hands up. When the officer is asked for his name, he replies, “Go f*** yourself.” (Er, content warning on the clip, needless to say.) The second is of a woman turning out at a Ferguson protest to support Darren Wilson. We need to wait for all of the facts, she says, without explaining why she’d then take one side over the other before we have them. Erick Erickson wrote a few days ago that “Ferguson is not binary,” i.e. that it’s possible to be a law-and-order conservative who thinks Wilson is innocent until proven guilty while also thinking that Ferguson police are too aggressive and overly militarized. Ferguson shouldn’t be binary, I’d agree, but I’d bet some chunk of readers will watch the first clip and assume that there must, simply must, have been some threat to the officer off-camera to get him to behave that way, just as another chunk will watch the second clip and assume, Jay Nixon style, that this corrupt woman’s sticking up for a man who is, must, and can only be guilty of murder. Oh well.
Update: The cop in the first clip below has now reportedly been removed from duty.