Michael Brown

Michael Brown Jr. 18 years old (May 20, 1996 – August 9, 2014) was the son of Lesley McSpadden and Mike Brown Sr.Brown graduated from Normandy High School in St. Louis eight days before his death, completing an alternative education program. His teachers said he was “a student who loomed large and didn’t cause trouble”, referring to him as a “gentle giant”.At the time of his death, he was 6’4″ tall and weighed 292 lb. He was an amateur rapper and posted tracks online under the name Big’Mike. Brown was to have started attending Vatterott College, a technical school, on August 11, 2014 with plans to become a heating and cooling engineer.

The shooting of Michael Brown happened on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, when the unarmed 18-year-old black male died after being shot by a white Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson.

According to witness reports and Ferguson police, Wilson drove up to Brown and a friend, Dorian Johnson, and ordered them to move off the street and onto the sidewalk. An altercation then took place between Brown and Wilson through the window of the police car. A shot was fired from within the vehicle and Brown and Johnson began to flee. Wilson left his vehicle and pursued them; he fired at least six shots. Michael Brown turned, held his hands and Wilson fired 7 more shots  fatally wounding Brown. Brown died approximately 35 feet from the police cruiser. Documents show less than three minutes passed from the time Wilson encountered Brown to the time of Brown’s death

Michael Brown was unarmed and had no criminal record.

Darren Wilson’s first police job was in the small town of Jennings, MO. The police department had such a troubled history with racial tensions between white officers and black residents that the city eventually disbanded it. Three years ago, every single officer INCLUDING Wilson was fired.

Dorian Johnson: a friend of Brown, was walking with him in the street. Johnson said that Wilson pulled up beside them and said, “Get the fuck on the sidewalk.” Johnson said the young men replied that they were “not but a minute away from [their] destination, and [they] would shortly be out of the street”.Johnson stated that Wilson drove forward without saying anything further, only to abruptly back up, positioning his vehicle crosswise in their path, almost hitting the two men. He said, “We were so close, almost inches away, that when he tried to open his door aggressively, the door ricocheted both off me and Big Mike’s body and closed back on the officer.”

Wilson, still in his car, grabbed Brown through the open window around the neck. Brown tried to pull away, but Wilson continued to pull Brown toward him. Johnson said that Brown “did not reach for the officer’s weapon at all”, insisting that Brown was attempting to get free of Wilson rather than attempting to attack him or take his weapon from him. Johnson said Wilson drew his weapon, and “he said, ‘I’ll shoot you’ or ‘I’m going to shoot,'” and almost instantaneously fired his weapon, hitting Brown.

Following the initial gunshot, Johnson stated that Brown was able to free himself, at which point the two fled. According to Johnson, Wilson exited the vehicle, after which he fired a second shot, striking Brown in the back. At that point, according to Johnson, Brown turned around with his hands in the air and said, “I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting!”, Wilson then shot Brown several more times, killing him. Johnson’s attorney stated that Wilson did not attempt to resuscitate Brown, did not call for medical help, and “he didn’t call it in that someone had been shot.”

James McKnight: said he witnessed the shooting and that Brown held his hands in the air just after he turned to face Wilson. “I saw him stumble toward the officer, but not rush at him. The officer was about six or seven feet away from him,” McKnight said.

Michael T. Brady: a 32-year-old man who lives near the scene of the shooting, said that he observed an initial altercation on the patrol car, and that “it was something strange. Something was not right. It was some kind of altercation. I can’t say whether he was punching the officer or whatever. But something was going on in that window, and it didn’t look right.” Brady said he could see Johnson at the front passenger side of the car when he and Brown started running suddenly; he did not hear a gunshot, (Brady, at the time, was indoors looking through a window), or see what caused them to run. He also said he saw Wilson get out of the patrol car and “start walking briskly while firing on Brown as he fled”.

Brady then ran outside with his camera phone to record the event. By the time he got outside, Brown had turned around and was facing Wilson. Brown was “balled up” with his arms under his stomach and he was “halfway down” to the ground. As he was falling, Brown took one or two steps toward Wilson because he was presumably hit and was stumbling forward; Wilson then shot him three or four times. Brady said that the pictures he took of Brown with his arms tucked in under his body is the position he was in as he was shot three or four more times by Wilson before hitting the ground.

Piaget Crenshaw: said that, from her vantage point, it appeared that Wilson and Brown were arm wrestling before the former shot Brown from inside his vehicle. Wilson then chased Brown for about 20 feet before shooting him again. Crenshaw stated, “I saw the police chase him … down the street and shoot him down.” She added that when Brown then raised his arms, the officer shot him two more times, killing him.

According to earlier reports that appeared on August 10, Crenshaw said she saw Brown attempt to flee with his hands in the air and that he was hit with several shots as he ran.

On August 18, after the release of Baden’s autopsy report, Crenshaw told CNN that no shots hit Brown’s back as he was running away, “Clearly none of the shots hit him, but one, I think, did graze him as they said on the autopsy report. At the end, he just turned around … after I’m guessing he felt the bullet grazed his arm, he turned around and he was shot multiple times.”

Tiffany Mitchell: arrived in the area to pick up coworker Piaget Crenshaw. In an August 13 televised interview with a local CBS affiliate, Mitchell said she saw Brown and Wilson struggling through the window of Wilson’s vehicle. “The kid was pulling off and the cop was pulling in,” she said. She started to take out her phone to record video, but then she heard a gunshot, “so I just started getting out of the way”. After the first shot was fired, she said, Brown started to run away. “After the shot, the kid just breaks away. The cop follows him, kept shooting, the kid’s body jerked as if he was hit. After his body jerked he turns around, puts his hands up, and the cop continues to walk up on him and continues to shoot until he goes all the way down,” she said.

Mitchell also appeared on CNN that evening, describing what she witnessed as follows: “As I pull onto the side, the kid, he finally gets away, he starts running. As he runs the police get out of his vehicle and he follows behind him, shooting. And the kid’s body jerked as if he was hit from behind, and he turns around and puts his hands up like this, and the cop continued to fire until he just dropped down to the ground and his face just smacks the concrete.”

Twitter user: An anonymous Twitter user, who witnessed the shooting, tweeted that Wilson fired twice at Brown while he was running away, and five more times after he turned around to face Wilson.

1) Several hours after Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, Missouri, a police dog handler let his dog urinate on a makeshift memorial that had been created on the street where Brown fell.

2) An officer working the Ferguson protests was caught on a racist Twitter rant about protesters, as well. Officer “Go F*ck Yourself” pointed his weapon at an African American member of the media and loudly declared, “I will f*cking kill you.”

3) A member of the National Guard, called in to “restore calm,” referred to protesters a niggars”

4) Another cop was busted calling demonstrators “f*cking animals,” on top of all that.

The list goes on–and this is just what was caught on tape and on social media!

A grand jury is currently reviewing evidence in making a determination whether or not Wilson will be charged for the murder of Michael Brown. The Grand Jury panel, unsurprisingly consists of 3 black individuals, 2 men and 1 woman, and 9 whites, 6 men and 3 women. In Missouri, a grand jury vote in favor of an indictment does not have to be unanimous. Only nine out of the twelve grand jurors need to vote to or not to indict.
UPDATE: 12-22-14
A Startling Admission By The Ferguson Prosecutor Could Restart The Case Against Darren Wilson
Ferguson prosecutor Bob McCulloch admitted that he presented evidence he knew to be false to the grand jury considering charges against Darren Wilson. In an interview with radio station KTRS on Friday, McCulloch said that he decided to present witnesses that were “clearly not telling the truth” to the grand jury.

Specifically, McCulloch acknowledged he permitted a woman who “clearly wasn’t present when this occurred” to testify as an eyewitness to the grand jury for several hours. The woman, Sandra McElroy, testified that Michael Brown charged at Wilson “like a football player, head down,” supporting Wilson’s claim that he killed Brown in self-defense.

McElroy, according to a detailed investigation by The Smoking Gun, suffers from bipolar disorder but is not receiving treatment and has a history of making racist remarks. In a journal entry, McElroy wrote that she was visiting Ferguson on the day of Michael Brown’s death because she wanted to “stop calling Blacks N****** and Start calling them people.” McElroy also has had trouble with her memory since being thrown through a windshield in a 2001 auto accident.

McCulloch’s prosecutorial team had McElroy testify to the grand jury over two days. In intentionally presenting false testimony to the grand jury, McCulloch may have committed a serious ethical breach. Under the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers are prohibited from offering “evidence that the lawyer knows to be false.”

McCulloch justified his actions by asserting that the grand jury gave no credence at all to McElroy’s testimony. But this is speculation. Under Missouri law, the grand jury deliberations are secret and McCulloch is not allowed to be present.

A Missouri lawmaker, Karla May, called Friday for a legislative investigation of McCulloch’s conduct. May said that there is evidence to suggest that McCulloch “manipulated the grand jury process from the beginning to ensure that Officer Wilson would not be indicted.”

Even before Friday’s interview, many legal experts were highly critical McCulloch’s use of the grand jury. Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, said she believed McCulloch “did not want an indictment” of Darren Wilson and turned the grand jury process on its head, acting as an advocate for the defense.

Mae Quinn, a law professor at Washington University School Of Law, told ThinkProgress that the unusual decision to present testimony he believed to be false to the grand jury — along with other atypical aspects of the prosecutor’s conduct in the Wilson case — could be an issue. “In terms of personal or professional interest playing a role in the grand jury process, I am struck by the double-bind we keep hearing about. That is, the county prosecutor feeling unable to simply present Darren Wilson’s case like any other without concern for perceived relationships with local law enforcement and others – and then making strategic decisions not singularly focused on representing the county,” Quinn said.

If Maura McShane, the Presiding Judge of the 21st Circuit, agrees with this assessment, she could appoint a new prosecutor and effectively restart the case against Darren Wilson.

Under Missouri law (MO Rev Stat § 56.110) the presiding judge of the court with criminal jurisdiction — in this case Judge McShane — can appoint another prosecutor if the prosecuting attorney demonstrates a conflict of interest or bias. Courts have interpreted this provision broadly to include “conflicts that reveal themselves through the prosecutor’s conduct in the case.” In State v. Copeland, a 1996 case, a Missouri court replaced the prosecutor because the judge “sensed that [the prosecutor’s] sympathies for [the defendant] may have prevented him from being an effective advocate for the state.” The judge “found the adversarial process to have broken down in that [the prosecutor] appeared to be advocating the defendant’s position.”

The recent admission that the prosecution knowingly presented false testimony to the grand jury builds on a pattern of conduct benefiting Wilson’s defense that could justify the appointment of a new prosecutor. This included: vouching for police conduct to the grand jurors, gentle questioning of Wilson himself and aggressive questioning of any witness adverse to Wilson’s defense.

A prosecutor handling any case where a law enforcement officer is accused of misconduct, nevermind one that attracts national attention, finds themselves in “a really hard position,” Quinn said. Quinn added that “[i]f such outside considerations weigh on the mind of a prosecutor, ultimately impacting the way a case is handled, that seems unfair not only to the victim and community – but the prosecutor, too. A special prosecutor in police cases, one who is insulated from these ongoing relationships and concerns, likely would engage in far less second-guessing and ancillary analyses.”

It’s now up to Judge McShane to decided if a new, independent prosecutor is warranted in the Darren Wilson case.
UPDATE: 12-19-14
The St. Louis County prosecutor in the grand jury that acquitted Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson said that some of the witnesses called lied under oath.

“Clearly some were not telling the truth,” Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch said in an interview with KTRS radio on Friday. He said he’s not planning to file charges against witnesses who lied.

McCulloch said that he wanted “anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything… presented to the grand jury,” and that he didn’t have regrets about calling non-credible witnesses, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

McCulloch talked about at least one witness who he said appeared to have pulled her account of Michael Brown’s death from a newspaper report.

The Post-Dispatch reported that McCulloch was referring to Sandra McElroy, whose retelling of events was discredited by investigators.

It was McCulloch’s first extensive interview since the grand jury decided not to charge Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

The decision in the Wilson case, and the acquittal of a NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner, set of a wave of national protests in late November and early December.
UPDATE 12-9-14
Federal Autopsy In Ferguson Shooting Of Michael Brown Released
A federal autopsy in the Ferguson police shooting reached similar conclusions to those performed by local officials and a private examiner hired by 18-year-old Michael Brown’s family, documents show.

The Armed Forces Medical Examiner System’s autopsy on Brown, conducted at the request of the Department of Justice, was among grand jury documents that St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch released Monday with little explanation. Other documents include transcripts of eight federal interviews of possible witnesses to Brown’s shooting in early August; police radio traffic; and an alleged audio recording of the shots fired by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Many of the documents contained information similar or identical to the materials McCulloch released on Nov. 24 after a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in Brown’s death. A transcript of testimony from an Air Force pathologist who performed the Justice Department autopsy was included in the November documents, but the autopsy report itself was not released until Monday.

The transcripts of the witness interviews released Monday were already included in previously released testimony heard by the grand jury.

The Justice Department autopsy found that Brown died from multiple gunshot wounds and had severe head and chest injuries, though it noted that the chest injury might have been an exit wound from a shot that entered Brown’s arm. The autopsy also found a minor gunshot wound to Brown’s right hand was evidence of close range discharge of a firearm.

Wilson told the local grand jury that his gun went off during a tussle with Brown through the open window of his police car moments before Brown was fatally shot.

The Justice Department is conducting a separate civil rights investigation into Brown’s death.

The Associated Press has reviewed all of the grand jury documents released and none appear to include a transcript or a recording of a two-hour FBI and county police interview with Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown when he was shot.

However, the first batch of documents did include seven video clips of Johnson’s media interviews, as well as a transcript of his testimony to the grand jury.

Johnson was walking with Brown when they encountered Wilson in a Ferguson street. Wilson fatally shot Brown, who was unarmed, after a struggle.

Johnson painted Wilson as provoking the violence, while Wilson said Brown was the aggressor. He also said Wilson fired at least one shot at his friend while Brown was running away.

The transcript released in November notes that jurors listened to a recording of an Aug. 13 interview of Johnson by the federal and county investigators.

Ed Magee, a spokesman for McCulloch, acknowledged earlier Monday his office didn’t release copies of FBI interviews with some witnesses at the request of the Justice Department. An FBI spokeswoman in St. Louis declined comment.

“Those reports are not ours to release.”

Hours later, Magee advised reporters that “as promised, additional information concerning the grand jury testimony on the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson investigation is now ready to be released.”

Grand jury investigations are closed to the public. When McCulloch released documents last month, he said he wanted transparency and believed “everyone will be able to examine that same evidence and come to their own conclusion.”

Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department in late November.
UPDATE 11-30-14
Ferguson Mayor: Darren Wilson Will Not Receive A Severance Package
Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson did not receive any severance package when he resigned over the weekend, the St. Louis suburb’s mayor said Sunday.

Wilson, 28, won’t receive any further pay or benefits, and he and the city have severed their ties, Mayor James Knowles told reporters a day after Wilson tendered his resignation, effective immediately.

Wilson’s lawyer, Neil Bruntrager has decided to step aside after police Chief Tom Jackson told him people had threatened violence against the police department and its officers.

“The information we had was that there would be actions targeting the Ferguson (police) department or buildings in Ferguson related to the police department,” Bruntrager said. “Wilson and the city were already discussing an exit strategy, acknowledging that staying on as an officer there would be impossible.

A grand jury on Monday decided not to indict Wilson, who is white, for killing an unarmed black 18-year-old, Michael Brown, during an Aug. 9 confrontation. The decision sparked days of protests in Ferguson and cities throughout the U.S., including some that were violent.

Wilson, who had been with the department for less than three years, had been on administrative leave since he killed Brown. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday, “I’m not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me.”

When asked Sunday whether there were any changes planned in Ferguson’s leadership, Knowles said there were not.

Many critics of how the Brown case has been handled have called on Jackson to resign, but the police chief told reporters he doesn’t intend to do so.

Earlier Sunday, Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family, said Wilson’s resignation was not a surprise.

“It was always believed that the police officer would do what was in his best interest, both personally and professionally.”. “We didn’t believe that he would be able to be effective for the Ferguson community nor the Ferguson Police Department because of the tragic circumstances that claimed the life of Michael Brown Jr.”
The family is still considering civil litigation such as a wrongful death lawsuit, “but don’t let that get confused with the fact that they really wanted the killer of their child to be held accountable.”

Wilson’s resignation meant little to the more than 100 people protesting Saturday night outside police headquarters in Ferguson. Two people were arrested. Another protester burned an American flag. By midnight, only about two dozen protesters remained.

Many seemed unfazed by the resignation. Several merely shrugged their shoulders when asked what they thought, while Rick Campbell flatly said he didn’t care about the resignation, noting: “I’ve been protesting out here since August.”

Victoria Rutherford, a resident who was not protesting, said she believed Wilson should have not only resigned, but been convicted of a crime. “I’m upset. I have a 16-year-old son. It could’ve been him. I feel that he was absolutely in the wrong.”

Another resident, Reed Voorhees, said he hoped Wilson could find similar work “someplace where he would enjoy life, and move on with his life.”

The U.S. Justice Department also is conducting a civil rights investigation into the shooting and a separate investigation of police department practices. It isn’t clear when that decision will be announced. It also isn’t clear what the future holds for Wilson, who has spent his adult life in police work and never wanted to do anything else, Bruntrager said.

“In terms of what it (the resignation) means, it means at this point he doesn’t have a paycheck,” Bruntrager said. “He has no income so he’ll have to make some decisions pretty quickly.”
UPDATE 11-29-14
Darren Wilson resigns from Ferguson Police Department
Citing threats of violence, Darren Wilson, who fatally shot Michael Brown Aug. 9, resigned from the Ferguson Police Department on Saturday.

Wilson, 28, whom a St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict in connection with the shooting, had worked for the city’s police department for six years.

In a telephone interview Saturday evening, Wilson said he resigned after the police department told him it had received threats that violence would ensue if he remained an employee.

“I’m resigning of my own free will,” he said. “I’m not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me.”

He said resigning was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

Wilson’s resignation, which was expected, comes after private talks between his representatives and the police department. The grand jury announced its decision in the case Monday.

Wilson’s resignation letter reads, in part:
“I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal.”

Wilson, who was paid an annual salary of $45,302, said he has not received a severance package, although he said he may negotiate with the department in hopes of receiving one. He said he’s been told he is not the target of any ongoing internal police investigation.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson declined to comment.

The shooting of Brown, 18, who was unarmed, sparked worldwide protests that continue this weekend. Wilson had been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.

Protesters, including Brown’s family members, have accused Wilson of murder in Brown’s death and called for a special prosecutor to pursue charges against Wilson.

Anthony Gray, an attorney representing the Brown family, said he believes Wilson was acting merely for his own benefit.

“It’s probably in his best interest to sever his ties with the Ferguson community, as well as the Ferguson police department,” Gray said. “I think this incident has severely compromised his ability to police in the way he was paid to do by the city.”

Patricia Bynes, a Democratic committeewoman for Ferguson township who has been active in the protests, said the resignation is too little, too late.

“It doesn’t even have the same impact that it would have months ago,” she said. “It would have relieved a lot of anger and the pressure in the streets. It’s been almost infuriating to get to this point and nothing has changed. There was no accountability and sense of responsibility for what has happened.”

Bynes said other people involved in the investigation and its outcome — Jackson, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar — should have either resigned or been held accountable.

“Either everybody’s an imbecile, or we have some negligence that’s going on that’s almost criminal,” she said. “So Darren Wilson? He’s the lowest man on the totem pole.”

Protester DeRay Mckesson said on Twitter that he and fellow protesters want an arrest, not a resignation, and that protests would continue. “Darren Wilson is not in jail, as he should be,” he said. “His resignation is important but not justice.”

The U.S. Justice Department is conducting separate investigations into the killing and into the practices of the Ferguson Police Department. Those investigations are ongoing.

On Tuesday, Wilson told ABC News that Brown was the aggressor in the minutes before the shooting. In an account that generally mirrored his testimony before the grand jury, Wilson said Brown had attacked him while the officer sat in his car, then fled. Wilson said he chased after Brown until Brown turned back toward him, refusing Wilson’s commands to stop.

As Brown approached, Wilson said, he warned Brown to stop. When he didn’t stop, Wilson repeatedly fired his handgun.

“I had to. If I don’t, he will kill me if he gets to me,” Wilson said in the televised interview.

Contrary to some reports, Wilson denied he had been paid for the ABC interview. “Absolutely not,” he said Saturday. “I wouldn’t jeopardize my integrity for a dollar.”

He expressed gratitude for supporters, some of whom even offered him a home. “It’s been unbelievable the amount of people who have reached out and don’t even know me,” he said.

Wilson recently was married to another Ferguson police officer, Barbara Spradling, 36. The couple are expecting their first child. Wilson said the department has asked that Spradling, a 12-year veteran, also resign. He said she has so far declined to do so.

He said he had no idea what job he will pursue. “I’ve got to figure out what do we do now,” Wilson said Saturday night. “Right now I would not want to be a cop, but you never know. Only time will tell.”
UPDATE 11-27-14
DA hands the jury a copy of a 1970 law that said it was legal and justified to shoot people when they run! It was deemed and ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1985!

UPDATE 11-25-14
Thank you Ben Hallman

Final Moments Witness

They may have had some conflicting accounts but I’m counting…
Did Brown charge Wilson? 10 NO
Did Brown charge Wilson? 5 Yes

Were Brown’s hands up? 9 YES
Were Brown’s hands up? 2 No’s

According to my calculations
Did Brown charge Wilson? 5 more said NO
Were Brown’s hands up? 7 more said YES

In his final moments of life, Michael Brown charged toward Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, shrugging off warnings to stop and seeming to ignore at least one bullet that wounded him, while reaching to his waistband as if to pull a weapon.
Or, he sank to his knees, raised his hands and shouted, “please don’t shoot me.”

Wilson shot and killed Brown on a suburban Missouri street on a Saturday afternoon. Nearly two dozen people said they saw the events unfold. Yet when asked to describe the last, crucial seconds before the fatal shots were fired, witnesses told investigators and a grand jury convened to investigate the death starkly different stories, a review of witness testimony reveals.

On Monday, the St. Louis County grand jury investigating the shooting declined to bring criminal charges against Wilson. In a news conference Monday night, the prosecutor said the witnesses who said Brown had tried to surrender just weren’t credible. The announcement sparked a night of angry protests in Ferguson and denunciations from civil rights leaders as well as Brown’s family.

Without conclusive forensic evidence, the decision not to bring criminal charges relied heavily on the testimony of people who watched the deadly events unfold. The below graphic charts these differing accounts, showing which witnesses claimed Brown ran toward Wilson before he was shot, and which witnesses said he stood still or got on his knees:

Witnesses generally agree on many important details before that final showdown: Wilson stopped Brown and a friend, who were walking in the middle of the street. Wilson and Brown tussled, with the teenager reaching inside the car, and at least one shot was fired, grazing Brown’s hand at close range (forensic reports appear to confirm that Brown was shot at close range). Brown ran away; Wilson got out of the car to follow on foot.
Five witnesses said Brown charged or moved toward Wilson immediately before the fatal shots. Ten witnesses said Brown was standing still or had sunk to his knees, and looked as if he was surrendering. Another six said they didn’t see the shooting, or weren’t clear in their description of what happened.

Several witnesses who described the showdown did not say one way or the other whether Brown rushed toward the police officer — a surprising omission from the record, given that this was the justification Wilson used to defend his fatal shooting of the teen.

Wilson himself said during his testimony that Brown stopped running, and instead of dropping to the ground as ordered, turned and charged. Wilson said he was afraid for his life. “At one point it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I was shooting him,” he said.

Witness 34, a man driving in a car near the scene, agreed with this basic version of events. “All of a sudden the young man he turned around and started coming back towards the officer … then the officer shot him a couple of times,” he said.

Two other witnesses, one in a parked car and another working about 100 yards away, also said that Brown charged Wilson before dying in a hail of gunfire.

But many other witnesses told the grand jury that Brown had raised his hands, had stopped moving and had tried to surrender before being killed — or some combination of the three.

Two witnesses, a man and a woman watching from a third-floor apartment window, said that Brown sank to his knees and put his hands in the air before he was shot and killed.

A woman smoking a cigarette in a parking lot that was “very close” to the shooting said that Brown put his hands up, and did not charge. She said she “knows” she heard Brown say “I give up” before he died.

“The officer got out, kinda gave him a chase and that’s where I see Mr. Brown slow up and throw his hands up,” she said.

Another witness, driving in a car, wasn’t quite sure. The man said Brown either stumbled toward Wilson, or walked toward him, after he was ordered to stop. “Regardless of why they died or who it was that died, it just it could have been anyone, anyone,” the witness said. “I was a little distraught over seeing someone gunned down.”

Ferguson Grand Jury Evidence Reveals Mistakes, Holes In Investigation

Soon after Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, law enforcement’s handling of the case was already being criticized as callous and sloppy. Residents of Ferguson, Missouri, looked on in horror as police officials failed to cover and later to remove Brown’s body from the street for hours.

Now that the grand jury evidence, including forensic records and testimony from Wilson and those investigating the fatal shooting, has been released, it’s clear that other mistakes were made in attempting to figure out what happened on that August afternoon. The best physical evidence and testimony might not have been as ironclad in Wilson’s favor as prosecutor Robert McCulloch characterized it on Monday night.

From the reams of grand jury testimony and police evidence, here are some key points that, if this case had gone to trial, could have been highlighted by prosecutors (not including the witnesses who appeared to contradict Wilson’s testimony):

1. Wilson washed away blood evidence.
In an interview with police investigators, Wilson admitted that after the shooting he returned to police headquarters and washed blood off his body — physical evidence that could have helped to prove or disprove a critical piece of Wilson’s testimony regarding his struggle with Brown inside the police car. He told his interrogator that he had blood on both of his hands. “I think it was his blood,” Wilson said referring to Brown. He added that he was not cut anywhere.

2. The first officer to interview Wilson failed to take any notes.
The first supervising officer to the scene, who was also the first person to interview Wilson about the incident, didn’t take any notes about their conversation. In testimony more than a month after the incident, the officer offered his account from memory. He explained that he hadn’t been equipped with a recorder and hadn’t tried to take any written notes due to the chaotic nature of the situation. He also didn’t write up any notes soon after the fact. “I didn’t take notes because at that point in time I had multiple things going through my head besides what Darren was telling me,” the officer stated.

The same officer admitted during his grand jury testimony that Wilson had called him personally after they both had been interviewed by investigators. Wilson then went over his account again with the officer. The officer told the grand jury that there were no discrepancies between Wilson’s first account in person and his second account on the phone. But the call raises questions about whether Wilson may have influenced witness testimony.

3. Investigators failed to measure the likely distance between Brown and Wilson.
An unnamed medical legal examiner who responded to the shooting testified before the grand jury that he or she had not taken any distance measurements at the scene, because they appeared “self-explanatory.”

“Somebody shot somebody. There was no question as to any distances or anything of that nature at the time I was there,” the examiner told the jury.

The examiner also noted that he or she hadn’t been able to take pictures at the scene — as is standard — because the camera’s batteries were dead. The examiner later testified that he or she accompanied investigators from the St. Louis County Police Department as they photographed Brown’s body.

4. Investigators did not test Wilson’s gun for fingerprints.
Talking with police investigators and before the grand jury, Wilson claimed that Brown had grabbed at Wilson’s gun during the initial incident in the police car and that Brown’s hand was on the firearm when it misfired at least once. Wilson also told police that he thought Brown would overpower him and shoot him with his own gun. “I was not in control of the gun,” Wilson said. Eventually he regained control of the weapon and fired from within the car.

Investigators could have helped to prove or disprove Wilson’s testimony by testing his service weapon for Brown’s fingerprints. But the gun was not tested for fingerprints. An investigator argued before the grand jury that the decision was made not to test the weapon because Wilson “never lost control of his gun.”

5. Wilson did not immediately turn his weapon over to investigators after killing Brown.
A detective with the St. Louis County Police Department, who conducted the first official interview of Wilson, testified to the grand jury that Wilson had packaged his own service weapon into an evidence envelope following his arrival at the police station in the wake of the shooting. The detective said the practice was not usual for his department, though he was unclear on the protocol of the Ferguson Police Department. He said he didn’t explore that aspect further at the time.

According to the detective’s testimony, standard practice for the St. Louis County Police Department would be for an officer involved in a shooting to keep his or her weapon holstered until it can be turned over to a supervisor and a crime scene unit detective. While that clearly didn’t take place in Wilson’s case, the detective also testified that he believed the firearm was handled in a way that preserved the chain of custody.

6. An initial interview with investigators was delayed while Wilson traveled to the hospital with his superiors.
The same St. Louis County Police Department detective also testified that while he had intended to conduct his initial interview with Wilson at the Ferguson police station, a lieutenant colonel with the Ferguson Police Department decided that Wilson first needed to go to the hospital for medical treatment. The detective said that while it is common practice to defer to any medical decision of this nature, Wilson appeared to be in good health and didn’t have any notable injuries that would have prevented an interview from being conducted at the station. Wilson would also testify that he didn’t believe he needed to go to the hospital.

But that day, Wilson got into a vehicle with the lieutenant colonel and another Ferguson police official and went to the hospital, while the St. Louis County detective traveled in another vehicle.

7. Wilson’s initial interview with the detective conflicts with information given in later testimony.
In his first interview with the detective, just hours after Brown’s death, Wilson didn’t claim to have any knowledge that Brown was suspected of stealing cigarillos from a nearby convenience store. The only mention of cigarillos he made to the detective was a recollection of the call about the theft that had come across his radio and that provided a description of the suspect.

Wilson also told the detective that Brown had passed something off to his friend before punching Wilson in the face. At the time, the detective said, Wilson didn’t know what the item was, referring to it only as “something.” In subsequent interviews and testimony, however, Wilson claimed that he knew Brown’s hands were full of cigarillos and that fact eventually led him to believe Brown may have been a suspect in the theft.
UPDATE 11-24-14
Ferguson Smolders After Night Of Fires, Unrest Following Grand Jury Decision

Ferguson, Missouri, is waking up to a city that is still smoldering after a night of unrest following a grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

At least a dozen buildings were torched and looted, many of them local businesses that police said were total losses. Dozens of cars — including two police cruisers and rows of vehicles at a car dealership — were also vandalized and left charred. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said he heard about 150 gunshots, none from police.

“What I’ve seen tonight is probably much worse than the worst night we had in August,” he said, referring to the summer protests after the shooting death of Brown, an unarmed black teenager who some witnesses say had his hands up when he was shot on Aug. 9.

Police said they made more than 80 arrests, and that there were only minor injuries.

Shortly after St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch made the rambling nighttime announcement, Wilson’s grand jury testimony was released, in which he claimed Brown looked like a “demon” during the deadly confrontation.

“I mean it was, he’s obviously bigger than I was and stronger and the, I’ve already taken two to the face and I didn’t think he would, the third one could be fatal if he hit me right …Or at least unconscious and then who knows what would happen to me after that,” Wilson said during his grand jury testimony.

The prosecutor’s office also released photos of Wilson taken after the incident that show his injuries from the confrontation, which appear to be a bruise on his face and a mark on his neck. The photos, which were used as evidence in the proceedings, had not been previously released to the public.

Other grand jury evidence released overnight reiterated witnesses’ firm beliefs they saw Brown throw his hands up before he was shot.

As about 1,000 vocal protesters gathered on Ferguson’s main street to learn the grand jury’s decision, Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, cried out in anguish while standing on top of a car.

“Everybody wants me to be calm,” she said. “Do they know how those bullets hit my son? What they did to his body as they entered his body?”

Brown’s family also released a statement, which read in part:
“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions. While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.”

As President Barack Obama spoke to the nation and appealed for calm, the tense demonstrations were already starting to boil over into violence.

On West Florissant Avenue, a focal point of summer protests, police ordered protesters off the streets. But once police left, some smashed the windows of a McDonald’s and others set fire to a beauty supply store and other businesses.
UPDATE 11-23-14
Riot and protest in Ferguson
There have been over 3.5 million Tweets tonight mentioning the #Ferguson decision
Unified Command – at least a dozen buildings set on fire, more are total loses. Officers hit by rocks, batteries.
Mayham outside of Mickey D’s in Ferguson Missouri
Walgreens on fire
2 cop cars on fire
Little Caesars Pizza burned to ground
Ferguson Market Trashed
Gunfire prevents airplane landings at Lambert
Looting at auto parts store
Public Storage building on fire
O’Reily’s Body Shop on fire
Smoke coming out of Beauty World
Police fired smoke canisters, possibly pepper spray at protestors, pushing them back.
Young dazed looking man pulled up in front of Crystal Nails with a bullet wound in his leg
Looting at Toys R Us
Pawn shop with broken windows
Officers in riot gear. Smoke deployed. Rocks being thrown in street.
Police release smoke canisters to disperse looting crowds
University City police officer has been shot in University City. Injuries unknown.
Four suspects arrested at Grand & Gravois for breaking into business. Weapon recovered.
Gunfire can be heard in several bursts. Low explosion sound
New York Grill on fire
Dellwood Police Station is fully engulfed in flames
Man shattered window of Cho Suey restaurant next to burning TitleMax.
Red’s BBQ spot burning
Cops with gas masks, rifles and helmet cams
Conoco gas station on fire in Dellwood
Cars at dealership on fire
The Fashions R Boutique is collapsing
UPDATE 11-23-14
Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson Not Indicted In Michael Brown Shooting
CLAYTON, Mo. — A grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced Monday.

McCulloch said members of the jury met for 25 days and heard over 70 hours of testimony from over 60 witnesses before reaching their decision. He confirmed Wilson had fired 12 shots at Brown, who was unarmed.

Brown’s Aug. 9 death sparked massive demonstrations in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson and a national conversation on race and law enforcement. Activists had predicted a new wave of demonstrations if Wilson was not indicted — not only in Ferguson, but in the greater St. Louis region and in other cities across the country.

“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions,” Brown’s family said in a statement. “While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.”

McCulloch said he would release full transcripts of the grand jury proceedings Monday night. His office took an unusual approach to the grand jury process by simply presenting the panel with all the evidence but not recommending any specific charges against Wilson.

“From the onset, we have maintained and the grand jury agreed that Officer Wilson’s actions on August 9 were in accordance with the laws and regulations that govern the procedures of an officer,” Wilson’s lawyers said in a statement. “Law enforcement personnel must frequently make split-second and difficult decisions. Officer Wilson followed his training and followed the law.”

Witnesses to Brown’s shooting who have publicly spoken about their recollections largely told the same story about the events that led to his death.

It is well established that Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were walking in the middle of a quiet residential street near the home of Brown’s grandmother when Wilson confronted them shortly after noon on Saturday, Aug. 9. The witnesses who spoke publicly said there was an initial confrontation between Brown and Wilson through the window of his police SUV — some said they thought Wilson was trying to pull Brown in, while Wilson has reportedly said that Brown reached for his weapon.

Wilson reportedly fired one shot out the window, and witnesses claim that Brown took off running. Wilson emerged from the vehicle, and Brown at some point turned around. Many witnesses who have spoken publicly said that Brown looked like he was trying to surrender and put his hands in the air as Wilson shot the final fatal rounds. Wilson reportedly contends that Brown was headed back toward him.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, reported that seven or eight witnesses largely backed up Wilson’s account of the shooting in testimony before the grand jury. Those witnesses, like most of the people in Ferguson, are African-American.

When Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson released Wilson’s name on Aug. 15, the police department simultaneously released a video that appeared to show Brown stealing cigarillos from a convenience store not long before the shooting and shoving a clerk when he was confronted. Jackson has since said that Wilson was not aware that Brown had been involved in any alleged robbery when the officer spotted him on the street.
UPDATE: 10-5-2014
Ferguson Protesters Disrupt St. Louis Symphony With Song For Michael Brown

Several dozen people protesting the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown have interrupted a performance of the St. Louis Symphony in a peaceful demonstration.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that as the musicians were about to start performing a song Saturday night, the demonstrators began singing and unfurled from a balcony three banners related to Brown’s shooting in August by a Ferguson police officer.

The newspaper reports that the interruption was met with applause from some members of the audience and the symphony.

Symphony publicist Erika Ebsworth-Goold tells KMOX-TV and the Post-Dispatch that the protesters were ticketed members of the audience.

The protest ended with participants leaving voluntarily.

St. Louis Police say they received no calls about the demonstration.
UPDATE: 9-28-14
THINK PROGRESS: Department Of Justice Orders Ferguson Police To Stop Wearing ‘I Am Darren Wilson’ Bracelets

A Department of Justice letter sent to the Police Chief Tom Jackson of Ferguson, Missouri on Friday instructed all officers to stop wearing “I Am Darren Wilson” bracelets. Another letter issued on Tuesday ordered members of the police department to wear readable name plates, after officers were seen wearing unidentifiable tags or none at all.

Protests have not stopped in Ferguson since officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed, in August. And in response to civil unrest, which gained steam again after Brown’s memorial was burned to the ground on Tuesday, and the use of the slogan “I Am Mike Brown,” officers were photographed wearing the bracelets supporting the officer who killed him.
The DOJ letter sent to Jackson explained that the bracelets contributed to an “us versus them” mentality and “upset and agitated” others.

In a separate letter, the DOJ also said that officers must stop violating name tag protocol by obscuring or altogether not wearing their name tags. The practice, DOJ said, “conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity.”

Ferguson police previously drew national attention for the militarization of officers, which made the town look like a war scene and resulted in the arrest and attempted censorship of journalists on the ground. And clashes between police and protestors haven’t stopped.

Although Jackson gave Brown’s parents a video apology and joined protesters in the streets this week, Darren Wilson still hasn’t been charged, raising questions about the justice system and politics in the town. Ferguson has a history of racial tension, and research shows that justice is hard to come by for victims of police brutality. For example, a Supreme Court ruling gives police legal deference to determine “reasonable” force. But protestors say civil unrest will continue until the officer is held accountable.

UPDATE 9-17-14
Think Progress: Darren Wilson, Officer Who Shot Michael Brown, Testifies In Front Of Grand Jury
Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot unarmed teen Michael Brown last month, testified before a grand jury convened to investigate the shooting on Wednesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The paper cited an unnamed source familiar with the investigation that said the Ferguson Police officer, who has been kept out of the public eye since the Aug. 9 shooting, testified for four hours. The source said that Wilson was “cooperative,” but no further details were released.

A spokesman for the prosecution would not comment on which witnesses have testified before the grand jury. Prosecutors will present evidence, and the jury will decide whether to charge Wilson.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch has ordered an audio recording of the proceedings, in addition to transcripts. If there is no indictment in the case, those records will be made public, McCulloch told the Post-Dispatch on Wednesday.

Protesters gathered peacefully to call for Wilson’s arrest in a demonstration Aug. 13. The crowd included Michael Brown’s parents.

“Is [Darren Wilson] getting peace? Now if he’s getting peace, I could respect him a lot better if he would come to Clayton right now, and turn himself in,” Michael Brown Sr. said Saturday.

Other protesters have disrupted meetings with calls to remove McCulloch, citing concerns about whether McCulloch could fairly oversee the case.

McCulloch’s father was a police officer killed in the line of duty when McCulloch was a child, and he has many relatives who work in law enforcement. McCulloch could have filed charges against Wilson himself, but chose to instead leave the decision up to a grand jury.

UPDATE 10-27-14

‘Inaccurate and misleading’ on Brown autopsy in the Rewrite, a forensic expert interviewed by Lawrence rewrites her “explosive” quote on Michael Brown’s autopsy and Officer Darren Wilson’s use of deadly force. Click here for video: http://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word/watch/inaccurate-and-misleading-on-brown-autopsy-347126851883

If you listened to the media reports this past week, it would appear that evidence had come forward to exonerate Officer Darren Wilson in the death of teen Michael Brown in August. It began when the St. Louis Dispatch ran an article titled “Official autopsy shows Michael Brown had close-range wound to his hand, marijuana in system” and quickly propagated throughout the net. If you read it, or the articles based on it, the impression was that the coroner who handled the autopsy had found that Michael Brown had attempted to grab Officer Wilson’s gun, and in so doing the officer was justified in the use of force which resulted in Michael’s death. They even includedquotes from a forensics expert, Dr, Judy Melinek, which appeared to indicate familiarity with the case, and justification of the teens untimely death.

Problem is, the autopsy report says nothing of the sort.

Instead, the story as put down in the report damns Officer Wilson. In the report, the evidence fit with Officer Wilson having unholstered his weapon and discharge it, still in the car, against an unarmed teen. It did find that Michael Brown had been exposed to cannabis at least 24 hours earlier, based on his blood and urine toxicology. The amount found, 12 nanograms of delta-9-thc in his blood along with over 150 nanograms of 11-Nor-Delta-9-THC-cooh, at his BMI of over 34, denoted someone who had smoked two cannabis blunts the day before, and at least 4 more over the prior week. Not exactly someone who was a hard core drug offender. But it was above the point of impairment for driving. Thankfully, Michael Brown was walking that day.

Now, many news sites ran with the claim that Michael Brown reached for officer Wilson’s gun. But the autopsy report tells a very different story. The only shot which indicated it was close to Officer Wilson, by having a powder burn or residue, was a burn on the inside of Michael Brown’s thumb, along with a bullet graze, which ran straight down the inside, across his thumbprint. Visualize just a moment, a bullet, in close proximity, so close that it could burn your thumb just below the knuckle, with the bullet heading straight out, away from the hand. A bullet coming out of a barrel likely touching the thumb at the knuckle joint, based on the description.

A thumb attached to a hand which had to be underneath the gun, pushing it upward, for the bullet to travel along that path.

That is not a hand placement for reaching into a car to grab a gun at all. That is not a hand position for wrestling a gun away from someone. That is a hand placement for pushing an already drawn sidearm up and out-of-the-way – a defensive move as someone is attempting to level it at you in order to kill you. It is unknown if Michael Brown had taken any self-defense classes, but this is a valid defensive response when ones life is in danger – to defend against the aggressor as best they can. This means however that Officer Wilson had drawn his sidearm against an unarmed teen before the situation had escalated, something also mentioned directly in the autopsy report. This would imply that Officer Wilson purposefully and willfully engaged with Michael Brown, with the result that the 18-year-old lost his life.

Every other injury to Michael Brown lacked any trace of firearm residue, meaning that they all happened at distance – away from the vehicle. The defenders of Darren Wilson therefore are defending the officers rights to engage in murder, so long as they can come up with a justification post-mortem.

As for the forensics expert, turned out that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had completely misrepresented her in their piece. On “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnel” Dr. Melinekblasted the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for their complete misrepresentation of her statements and went on the record with her findings based on the autopsy report.

At this time, no apology from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch over their gross misrepresentation of the statements given has been released, and it is quite probable that none will be. As for Officer Wilson, he now has even more to explain, such as why he was aiming a loaded firearm at an unarmed teenager through his patrol car window. There is no plausible explanation for such an action that anyone is yet aware of. It is now on Officer Wilson to explain his actions that afternoon in August.
UDATE 11-21-14
For 104 days, the police have lied and said Mike Brown was killed 35 feet away from Darren Wilson’s SUV. It was actually 148 feet.

131 feet, 1 inch (distance between the fire hydrant and where Mike Brown died), + 17 feet (distance between the fire hydrant and the driver’s side door of Darren Wilson’s SUV) = 148 feet.


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