I have held off commenting on the Michael Brown verdict because I wanted to read the grand jury testimony for myself which I finally did.
Here are some problems and overall thoughts that I have....
1.) How far was Darren Wilson when he shot Brown? Originally the police said 35 feet. Subsequent investigation shows that Brown was 148 feet away from Wilson when he was shot.
2.) By his own testimony, Wilson chose not to have non-lethal means of subduing a suspect in his car – He did not like to carry a taser because it was “too bulky” and pepper spray was out of reach he said when Brown reached through the car window . So the only way to subdue a suspect is deadly force? Wilson partly blamed his police department for this – Is this normal police procedure?
3.) Brown was shot nine times. In addition, at least one bullet was dug out of the wall of a nearby house. How many times did Darren Wilson fire his gun? Was this absolutely necessary?
4.) Aside from dehumanizing Brown by calling him “it” and “a demon”, Wilson in his testimony said over and over again how Brown was a big man, 6’4. What he left out was while Wilson is about 40 pounds lighter, they are the exact same height! Both are 6’4!
5.) We were told Wilson had severe injuries because of Brown. This was information supposedly leaked by Ferguson PD. None of that was true. Wilson had red marks on his face with no swelling which could have been the result of other things. Also scratches on his neck? According to released medical info, Wilson suffers from Eczema (as do I) the photos on Gawker look more like that.
6.) Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, testified Wilson used obscene language and was rude and confrontational from the get go. This jibes with at least two other people living in the same community who came forward with past Officer Wilson stories. Remember Officer Wilson did not know about them as suspects in the store robbery at that time at the time he initiated the confrontation.
7.) Officer Wilson originally stopped because they were walking in the middle of the street. Apparently, according to witnesses, so were a number of other people. It’s a small road not a freeway. Why did Officer Wilson just single out these two?
8.) Regarding the store robbery, many unanswered questions – I looked at it again and the full security video shows money being placed on the counter for the cigars. The altercation between Brown and the storekeeper seems to occur because of something else – Brown reaching over the counter or something the storekeeper says. In his testimony, Dorian Johnson says while he did not see Brown pay for the cigars, there was some conflict which he didn’t fully grasp (or he was he told to say this in exchange for not being charged with marijuana possession – I think the fix was in from the start)
9.) The storekeeper did not call the police when Brown supposedly stole the cigars. He was very quick to say this. Unfortunately, and I saw this when I lived in Los Angeles with Korean shopkeepers, immigrants who come over to the US sometimes absorb pre-existing prejudices against African Americans. The newsmedia has not covered this story but this guy did have some confrontations with locals in the past.
10.) The behavior of the prosecutor Bob McCulloch was shameful from his past ties to police organizations (through his family) and prior defense of police brutality to how he presented information to grand jury attacking Brown and not contradicting Wilson when he spoke or properly cross examining him to the victim blaming psychotic news conference immediately following the verdict(Where he basically said Wilson was innocent – I’ve never heard a prosecutor do that before) to how he released information. I think the federal government should investigate his behavior
11.) Darren Wilson was paid $500,000 for his interview with George Stephanopolous. In addition, more than a million dollars were raised on his behalf. I hope Michael Brown’s family sues him in civil court.
12.) While it’s true there was conflicting eye witness testimony, that’s not true on every aspect http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/newly-released-witness-testimony-tell-us-michael-brown-shooting/ Seems like Darren Wilson was the one who was most inconsistent in his testimony.
In the end, while this is not as clear cut an example of police brutality as other recent cases, I do think the prosecutor’s behavior alone warrants the Department of Justice to get involved.