I drew my firearm, I pointed at him… “stop I’m going to shoot you” is what I ordered him to get on the ground. He said, “You’re too much of a fuckin’ pussy to shoot me” and grabbed my gun. When he grabbed my gun, he twisted it, pointed at me and into my hip, pelvic area. I know his hand was on my trigger finger, which was inside the trigger guard. And when he grabbed it he pushed it down and angled it to where it was like this is my hip. My firearm was in his control and pointed directly into my hip. At that point I was guaranteed he was going to shoot me. That’s what I thought his goal was.
He had already manipulated [so that] I was not in control of the gun. I was able to tilt myself a little bit and push it down and away towards the side of my hip … He had me completely overpowered while I was sitting in the car. Then I took my left arm and I pinned it against my back seat and pushed the gun forward … it ended up being right about where the door handle is on the Tahoe …
When it got there it was somewhat lined up with his silhouette and I pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. Pulled it again, nothing happened. I believe his fingers were over in between from the hammer and the slide preventing it from firing. I tried again. It fired. Glass shot up. The first thing I remember seeing is glass flying and blood all over my right hand on the back side of my hand. He looked like he was shocked initially, but he paused for a second and then came back into my vehicle and attempted to hit me multiple times.
Probable cause is not a stiff standard. It does not require that most of the evidence be incriminating, let alone be proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” as required in a criminal trial. Instead, grand juries are ordinarily instructed to issue an indictment when there is “some evidence” of guilt, legal experts said.
To Mr. Brown’s parents and their supporters, the case for bringing at least some charge in this case seemed open and shut. But the jurors also had to consider whether Officer Wilson acted within the limits of the lethal-force law, raising the threshold for an indictment…
Some people claiming to be eyewitnesses said Mr. Brown was shot in the back, Mr. McCulloch said, but later changed their stories when autopsies found no injuries entering his back. But others, African-Americans who did not speak out publicly, he said, consistently said that the youth had menaced the officer.
McCulloch failed to persuade even nine of the 12 members of the grand jury that there was mere “probable cause” to believe that a crime was committed and that Wilson committed it. At a trial, he and his team would have had to persuade all 12 members of a criminal jury that Wilson committed the crime beyond any “reasonable doubt.”…
As the grand jury members were reviewing the evidence, they weren’t shielded from daily demands from activists for them to return an indictment, nor from the massive demonstrations in the weeks that followed Brown’s death on Aug. 9.
An yet, even though they were “overwhelmed” by “the same media onslaught that everybody else in St. Louis has been living under,” McGraugh told NBC News, they still concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to establish simple probable cause…
The biggest hurdle, however, would have been that juries are simply reluctant to convict law enforcement officers. Goldman said it was simple: Jurors are people, and people are afraid of crime.
When you add this climate of legal deference to the particular circumstances of the grand jury trial—including McCullough’s reputation for supporting police officers, and his decision to avoid a recommendation for charges—the non-indictment was almost inevitable. Barring something extraordinary, Wilson was going to walk free. The judicial system as we’ve constructed it just isn’t equipped—or even willing—to hold officers accountable for shootings and other offenses. Or put differently, the simple fact is that the police can kill for almost any reason with little fear of criminal charges.
Which is to say this: It would have been powerful to see charges filed against Darren Wilson. At the same time, actual justice for Michael Brown—a world in which young men like Michael Brown can’t be gunned down without consequences—won’t come from the criminal justice system. Our courts and juries aren’t impartial arbiters—they exist inside society, not outside of it—and they can only provide as much justice as society is willing to give.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a society that gives dignity and respect to people like Michael Brown and John Crawford and Rekia Boyd. Instead, we’ve organized our country to deny it wherever possible, through negative stereotypes of criminality, through segregation and neglect, and through the spectacle we see in Ferguson and the greater St. Louis area, where police are empowered to terrorize without consequence, and residents are condemned and attacked when they try to resist.
“But right now my community is hurting. They are in pain. They have been in pain before Michael Brown. Having to look at Michael Brown’s body for four and a half hours, injured them more. I have constituents who have PTSD. I have constituents who have no hope. And tonight, when you listen to what [St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney] Bob McCulloch said — in fact, I’ve been getting text messages non-stop as i’ve been listening to your reporting — and people are angered, because they feel as though his words are empty, as it was said earlier today, and because of the systematic racism that we have in our state government, and our state party, and if we do not bring the truth to bear, then we will not recover from what we are going on, what we are experiencing right now.
“And I have to tell you, this is St. Louis’s race war,” she continued calmly, holding back tears. “We didn’t have a race war like other cities throughout the country. This is our race war. And people have to be open, and they have to be honest. And they have to earnest. And they have not been earnest for decades. I know people in my own party, in my own government structure who disregard things that we say, and how we feel. And we are not going to allow it anymore.”
Even if many of your grievances are legitimate, “justice” doesn’t exist to soothe your anger. In the end, there wasn’t probable cause to file charges against Wilson. And after all the intense coverage and build-up the predictable happened. Even taking a cursory look at the grand jury evidence, the details of Brown’s death were far more complex than what we heard when the incident first broke over the summer. Lawyers will, no doubt, analyze every morsel of evidence in the coming days. But if Wilson’s testimony is corroborated by forensic evidence, and much of it seems to be, it seems unlikely that any jury would be able to convict him.
That doesn’t mean that many of black America’s concerns about these kinds of incidents aren’t genuine. It doesn’t mean that police departments like the one in Ferguson aren’t a major problem. It only means that this incident should be judged on the evidence, not the politics or the past or what goes on elsewhere…
For the sake of argument, let’s concede that prosecutors punted and allowed Wilson to walk because they were either racist or incompetent or terrified. Let’s concede that the grand jury capitulated to the will of the prosecutor. Even if that were all the case, we still don’t have an out-of-control cop callously gunning down an innocent, defenseless black man. This does happen in the United States far too often, and all too often there is no indictment. But there is no proof that racism played a role in this shooting. Unless all scientific evidence in the case is debunked, and unless new evidence emerges, it’s fair to say that Brown was an aggressor and, at the very least, put himself in a perilous position. So indicting Wilson to soothe the anger of community would not be just. It would be the opposite.
That Rep. Lewis, who was beaten to within an inch of his life in Selma, would draw a moral equivalence between violence on the part of police officers who viciously beat nonviolent civil-rights protesters with the encounter between Brown and Wilson, where the facts indicated the teen had struggled to wrest control of the officer’s gun, is disheartening. Disheartening because Lewis’ words will give strength and solace to those who believe in the narrative that our country remains overwhelmingly prejudiced toward blacks, instead of confronting the sad reality that almost all shootings involving black men in America today take place at the hands of other black men rather than white police officers.
How can Lewis prejudge an outcome as a miscarriage of justice unless he considers the only proper outcome to be Wilson’s indictment (and, ultimately, conviction)—when the congressman had no access to the evidence considered by the grand jury? While the grand jury ultimately voted in a manner that would displease Lewis, its members were tasked with weighing evidence and facts, while his finger had already tipped the scales of justice to meet an ideological rather than impartial outcome.
Last year, 76 law-enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, and I’m hard pressed to name one of them. Yet, high-profile cases such as the shooting deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown have made these names well-known around the world. Their sad fame comes at the hands of those who push the narrative that white cops are motivated by racial animus to kill blacks. How else to explain the media ignoring the thousands upon thousands of blacks who die at the hands of other blacks—but the sensationalized 24/7 coverage involved when violence is inflicted at the hands of whites toward blacks?
Ferguson burns and violence has been unleashed thanks to the reckless liberal media, the lawless administration (especially Eric Holder) exploiting the shooting to smear police departments across the nation, phony civil rights demagogues, race-baiting politicians, and radical hate groups.
The lies about why and how Officer Darrin Wilson shot Michael Brown started on day one and never ended. The indisputable facts are that Brown was shot because he assaulted a police officer, attempted to take the officer’s pistol resulting in two close range gun shots in the police cruiser, and then turned around and charged the officer as he was being pursued. The entire event was precipitated by Brown earlier stealing cigars from a local store and assaulting the owner.
What we are witnessing now is the left’s war on the civil society. It’s time to speak out in defense of law enforcement and others trying to protect the community and uphold the rule law.
In the search for culpability for the tragedy in Ferguson, I mostly blame politicians. Michael Brown’s death and the suffocation of Eric Garner in New York for selling untaxed cigarettes indicate something is wrong with criminal justice in America. The War on Drugs has created a culture of violence and put police in a nearly impossible situation…
African Americans perceive as true that their kids are more likely to be killed. ProPublica examined 33 years of FBI data on police shootings, accounted for the racial make-up of the country, and determined that: “Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater.”
Can some of the disparity be blamed on a higher rate of crime in the black community? Yes, but there is a gnawing feeling that simply being black in a high-crime area increases your risk for a deadly altercation with police.
Finally, what distinguishes Ferguson from the crowded historical catalogue of racially-motivated street violence is what has happened in recent weeks: The unseemly buildup to the announcement of the grand jury’s conclusion that no crime was committed in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown has produced an expectation of ugliness. What occurred Monday night — and may continue in the days ahead — is rioting as planned event, so pervasively predicted, so extensively prepared for as to obscure the power and meaning of the protests.
A news media obsessed with predicting the next step, a security apparatus equipped to put down almost any uprising, and a political power structure apparently seeking to head off violence by predicting it have combined to produce an unprecedented sense of inevitability, reducing what has historically been an explosion of frustration to a kind of staged performance…
Thanks to a relentlessly forward-skewed news media — “What will happen next?” was the topic of nearly every cable news discussion — Monday night’s violence became on-demand programming for a nation that flits from one blockbuster event to the next.
The sad truth is that too many young black men have been, for so long, told they are victims that they’ve started acting as if they are not responsible for their actions and that society is out to get them.
And you know what?
In a lot of cases, it is true. Society is out to get them. Instead of judging them individually, police and others judge young black men collectively. In a group? Probably up to no good, whether it is true or not.
Conservatives have a tendency to say young black men need to rise so far about the stereotyped behavior they cannot be blamed. Liberals say that is unfair. And the truth is that in some cases they could rise as close to the standard of Jesus as possible and some policeman somewhere still might pull them over.
If only we could all rely on our better angels. But I am a pessimist on this issue. Too many people on both sides have too much of an incentive to keep tensions going.
According to the “black–white divide” way of thinking, these are simply two conflicting perceptions.
It is difficult to overstate how damaging this is. It denies the very existence of the two pillars of civilization — objective truth and moral truth…
But when the truth is knowable, one of the “perceptions” has to be wrong. Two distinct ethnic or cultural groups may have different perceptions of musical beauty or of what foods they like. But this is not the case regarding truth, which is based on facts. In Ferguson, either the black (and left-wing whites’) “perception” is not truth-based or the other side’s “perception” isn’t.
Once the facts come out, we are no longer speaking of “perceptions.” We are speaking of truth and falsehood.