Sunday, September 7, 2014

Since Darren Wilson was shooting at Michael Brown while the teen was running away from him, then . . .

Why I have allowed Darren Wilson supporters to engage me on Twitter, I don't know. Who has the time to talk to people who keep talking about "waiting for the facts" when it's already clear that they've bought Officer Wilson's story in the absence of facts? Last week I found myself attempting to reason with one man, but no matter how many ways I explained to him that the police do not dispute that Mike Brown Jr. was unarmed and Wilson began shooting from a distance of more than 25 feet, finally shooting Brown fatally somewhere between seven and two feet away, Twitter man kept parroting, "But the autopsy shows he wasn't shot in the back."

Does saying Wilson was shooting at Brown while  Brown was running way the same as saying Wilson shot Brown the back? I don't think so. Wilson was shooting at a moving target, so he was more likely to miss.

I repeated to this man more than once that I was not saying that Mike Brown was shot in the back. I'm saying that according to multiple witnesses, Wilson began shooting after Brown at the same time the 18-year-old was running, putting more distance between himself and the cop. This means that Wilson was shooting at the unarmed teen in a residential area while Wilson was not in immediate danger.

Twitter man swore that the police had disputed that Wilson fired while Brown was running, but he had nothing to cite to back that up, and people who have been seriously paying attention to the Ferguson story know that one problem with the Ferguson Police Chief is that he has been uncommunicative with citizens and sometimes deceptive when he is. Still, the man tweeted back that Brown "was not shot in the back."

I almost tweeted to him that I suspected he suffered from a reading comprehension problem, but I decided to block him instead because he added nothing to my feed but stupidity and rudeness. Honestly, I think some of these Wilson supporters think Black people operate via some kind of hive mind, so if one Black person uses the phrase "shot in the back," that must means all Black people are saying that.

I think the young man, Dorian Johnson, first said Wilson shot Brown in the back, and Wilson supporters have seized on that since the autopsy reports have not supported that account. What they seem intent on ignoring is that it may have looked to Dorian like Mike Brown was hit. The kid's reported what appeared to have happened given that Brown's body jerked before he turned around and faced Wilson with his hands up. But again, is Johnson's misspeaking as critical a point as the one thing all the witnesses agree on: Wilson started shooting at Brown while Brown was running away from him.

Also, why don't Wilson supporters think it strange that the Ferguson Police Department didn't even write an incident report for the shooting? The Ferguson police have  since said that they didn't file an incident report because they "almost immediately" turned the case over to the St. Louis County Police. I'd love to know if that's standard operating procedure.

If nothing else, a fair person would at least acknowledge that Wilson's actions were reckless. The way he went after Brown, firing his weapon in an area with children about, he could have killed a bystander. Also, firing at him that way sounds more like the actions of an angry, frustrated man in the moment than it does a cool professional.

While witnesses don't agree on the number of shots they heard, the audio captured by a man who was on chat while Brown was being killed reveals Wilson shot at Brown at least ten (10) times, and the company that created the software that captured the audio, Glide, has verified that the man who turned it in was using its service at the time of the shooting.

In addition, the autopsy conducted by pathologist Michael Baden at the Brown family's request states bullets entered Mike Brown's body six times: four shots in the right arm and hand, one near the eye that ricocheted in his skull and ended up in his chest, and one in the top of the head from angle that suggests Brown may have been falling forward to his knees when the final bullet struck him. Brown was substantially taller than Wilson, so unless Wilson had a ladder with him, how did Brown get shot in the top of the head?

The autopsy is forensic evidence. What we're waiting to hear is whether the official autopsies (State and Federal) agree with Baden's assessment. So far, the county's pathologist has said that Brown was shot at least six times.

Wilson supporters seem to think that if the gun has Michael Brown's DNA on it, then that means something. Actually, we don't know what that means. His DNA on the gun may indicate that he saw Wilson drawing his weapon and in fear tried to prevent Wilson from shooting him at the car. We may never know what happened at the car because it's Brown's friend's word against Officer Wilson's word.

What we do know is that Mike Brown ran. He was unarmed, and Officer Wilson ran after him, shooting. On what planet is that okay? It certainly should not be okay in a so-called "Christian" nation. And for those who don't believe in God, Wilson's actions should not be okay in a so-called enlightened free nation either.

Later in this post, I've embedded a KMOV Missouri interview with Tiffany Mitchell, the 27-year-old woman who witnessed the scene at the car, Wilson's pursuit, and Brown being shot to death. The interview was published August 13, and the young woman is clearly troubled in the video by what she witnessed. You may also read the article here.

New Witnesses Come Forward

Mitchell and other witnesses either may have known Brown or at least seen him around the neighborhood, so those who prefer to believe the unarmed teen deserved to be killed and Wilson exonerated would also like to dismiss eyewitness testimony. But the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported yesterday that two other witnesses who did not know Brown (men who were working at the apartment complex when the incident occurred) have also testified to the FBI, and their accounts agree with other witnesses on some key points: Wilson fired his weapon at Brown at least once while the teen was running away, and Brown's hands were raised in surrender when Wilson shot him multiple times, killing him.

One of the workers recounts a story of speaking to Brown shortly before he was killed, and he says the kid was talking about Jesus. That account supports Brown's father's story that the teen called him earlier saying that he had seen an angel in the clouds and knew Jesus would help him. Regardless of what he allegedly did at the convenience store, these two stories about him make him sound much more like a naive kid than people would think.

One final point Wilson supporters overlook is this, while eyewitness testimony can be faulty, the points on which multiple witnesses who do not know each other agree is likely accurate. A jury should consider this. Forensic evidence does not tell the whole story no matter what some folks seem to think. However, will this case ever go to criminal trial under St. Louis County? I have my doubts. I really have my doubts. Perhaps the Federal Justice Department will hold someone official accountable. In the meantime, we'll have to wait, see, and pray that all hell doesn't break loose if the criminal justice system declares Brown's killing "justified."

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