I know NinjaCate shared the article (Thank you!) but this needs its own post. This is from the commenter, The Truth Is Relevant:
This will be my last comment because I'm sick of battling with uninformed racists who don't watch multiple news sources on these comments and want to stick up for this officer for the hell of it, or out of their own agenda to somehow belittle the black experience with unfair treatment at the hands of law enforcement in this country. If anything, from the actions of the Ferguson PD we should be even more skeptical of them and their police force, and even more skeptical of officer Wilson who at the very least has shown he was not trained very well.
We should be questioning his story and scrutinizing it heavily, not blaming Michael Brown and making up wild assumptions about his character when he is unable to speak for himself. We should not be ignoring key witnesses who were actually at the scene and dismissing what they saw as completely false or irrelevant, especially witnesses who have absolutely no motive to lie or make things up, and are most likely traumatized by the entire event.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- The officer was seen grabbing Michael Brown by the neck and trying to pull him into his SUV. He was in an SUV, so this makes perfect sense with Michael's height that he was able to grab him by the neck from his vehicle. We don't know why he was grabbing Michael because the only account is from Brown's friend, but more than one witness has said that they saw this go down.
- The witness, Tiffany Mitchell, who was at least within 10 feet of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson in her car, said that she saw Michael Brown's hands on the SUV the ENTIRE time, and not once did she see him strike the officer or lift his hands from the vehicle. She said that she heard a shot, Brown broke free from the officer's grasp, and started running away from the officer. This lines up perfectly with two other witness statements that say he ran away from the officer after a shot rang out. Watch her statement here:
If you can honestly not call her a credible witness, then you are being willfully ignorant. She does not seemed influenced in any way, she does not embellish what she's seen, she just reports what she saw and what she knows. If anything, she is the most credible witness I've seen throughout this entire event.
- All of the witnesses who have come forward on TV who were actually at the scene have said that a shot or shots were fired while Michael Brown was running away. There is debate as to whether or not he was hit in the back once or twice or even at all, but all witnesses have said that they saw his body jerk as if he was hit, which caused him to turn around. Some may have mistaken the gunshots being fired and the body jerk movement as him being hit in the back multiple times, but all of them saw him jerk as if he was hit, and they all say he turned around afterwards.
- All of the witnesses who have come forward on TV who were actually at the scene have said that Michael then turned around and raised his hands in the air and surrendered. Brown's friend said he heard Michael say "Why are you shooting? I don't have a gun" or something to that effect. The other witnesses didn't hear anything. All witnesses report him raising his hands in the air.
- Not one witness who was actually there said that Michael Brown charged the officer. They all say he was shot multiple times until he died in place, and all seemed genuinely shocked by having seen such a thing. There is even video from some of the witnesses afterwards with their sentiments about what they just saw, further solidifying their credibility in at least the fact that they were disturbed by the officer's actions and the way he handled the situation.
- The only person who has said Michael Brown was charging is Wilson's friend, who heard the story from him. That is hardly credible, but it has definitely diluted the discussion as many people are running with this story.
- The video that is circulating around that is alleging Michael Brown may have charged the officer is largely false speculation and over-reach, as the only thing the person on the video has said is "he coming back toward him". This is hardly saying that Michael Brown charged the officer, but many conservative blogs have misrepresented it as such. They claim someone on the video says "he kept coming toward him" but this is not actually said on the video. This actually lines up with the witnesses who said Michael Brown turned around after his body jerked. It could be said that one person who saw Michael Brown turn around assumed that he was going back towards the officer, but all of the witnesses said that Michael Brown turned around and surrendered. This talk after the event is hardly reliable as well, as we all have played the telephone game. I'd much rather rely on the witnesses who actually saw the entire event from beginning to end, and not the people who are talking about what they heard happen afterwards. None of the witnesses who actually saw the event unfold have said that Michael Brown charged the officer, and in fact have said the opposite. That should mean something.
- We know that Michael Brown was far away from Wilson when he was shot down.
- We know that officer Wilson shot over 6 times, with 6 of the shots hitting Michael Brown. This clearly shows a lack of judgment and a misuse of force. The witness on Twitter confirms this, as his count is more than 6 shots. There are also gun casings found around the scene that will most likely line up with this account, and the officer having fired more shots than what hit Michael Brown. This proves at the very least he was shooting with disregard for other people's safety.
- When Wilson is pacing back and forth after the video, he has both a taser and gun on his hip. He will have to explain why he didn't use his taser on an unarmed man if he felt threatened. Even if you take his story into account, it was pretty clear that Brown was unarmed. If you want to believe Michael struggled for the officer's gun, that all but proves he did not have a gun of his own, so why would the officer then use a gun to respond to him and not a taser, knowing Brown was unarmed?
- We know that officer Wilson's friend said that Brown was only 3 feet away from him when he was killed, but this is not matched by the forensics or witnesses by any stretch of the imagination. Especially the videos.
- We know that Officer Wilson did not call for an ambulance, and could be seen to not be concerned with Michael Brown on the ground for quite some time. He did not cover the body. He did not check the body. He did not even hardly look at the body. This is all on video. He seemed to be more concerned with himself. Some will explain this as shock, and that is reasonable, but officers are also trained. You would expect that he would have done at least ONE thing to show that he was acting in a professional manner that led him to unfortunately kill someone and not out of some sort of rage or disregard. His actions on video tape by witnesses all but prove his disregard.
- The gunshot wounds to Michael Brown do not prove if he was shot from the front or back, but one of the forensics doctors has conjectured that the shot to his forearm would most likely be the one that hit him from behind, if a shot did hit him from behind. Another doctor said some of the shots on his arm could have been from behind due to the mobility of the arm. People who are saying "this proves that he wasn't shot from behind" are really jumping the gun and ignoring what we all know so far. If anything, the forensics doesn't prove anything either way, but it lines up more closely with what the witnesses have reported than the claim that he somehow charged the officer like the incredible hulk.
- Footage from a convenience store shows Michael Brown and his friend in what is a robbery. This has been characterized as "strong arm" robbery, but that is largely an over-exaggeration. He did shove the clerk, but we have all seen robberies that are a lot more dangerous than what happened on that video tape. Is it right? Not at all, it is terrible. But it is not a violent robbery that compares to even the average store robbery. There was no weapon. They basically walked out, and he pushed the clerk out of his way. That's it.
- Michael Brown has no prior criminal record or incidents with the law. None.
- Paiget Crenshaw said it looked like officer Wilson was trying to pull him into the car. That cannot be in question anymore with two witnesses. She said he started chasing after the boy and heard shots fired. She then said he turned around and was shot multiple times. She said when he turned towards the cop is when he let off the MOST shots. Not all. MOST. Watch the video for yourself:
- There was marijuana in Michael Brown's system. Anyone who has smoked weed knows that it can linger in your system for up to 3 months after using, and if Michael Brown was high it would have only made him lethargic and less aggressive. Anyone who says differently is honestly very stupid and not knowledgeable about marijuana at all. There is no way marijuana would make someone completely aggressive and reckless the way the officer's friend was describing Michael Brown. The only drug that would really line up with that is PCP or even alcohol, but not marijuana.
At this point you can "wait for the facts" to come out, but unless some audio tape or video comes out that shows Michael Brown fighting the officer and acting like a reckless mad man who did not care about his own life, not much is going to change. If that comes out, then many people will have been wrong about this case but I strongly doubt it will happen. We have to use our common sense based on what we know, and common sense is this:
- You can't trust the Ferguson PD. The have mishandled this entire situation, and the police chief has been abysmal. They do not deserve the benefit of the doubt, and have done nothing but escalate this situation even more. Anyone who gives them the benefit of the doubt is totally unreasonable.
- This police department does not represent it's community racially with over 50 white officers and only 3 black officers, and dozens of residents on TV have come forward with their own stories of mistreatment at the hands of Ferguson PD, including elected officials who have been profiled on a regular basis. I cannot list every account here, you just have to have had the news on constantly to have seen this for yourself, but it was covered heavily in the first few days.
- There is at least one citizen who had a prior run-in with officer Wilson. You can ignore this if you want to be on his side and disbelieve any negative stories that come out about him, but given the way the Ferguson PD has operated and all of the stories of their misconduct, I'd most likely assume it to be true that Wilson was not squeaky clean and 100% respectful of civilians all the time. Here is one such account:
She knew who he was because she looked at his name tag and told herself that she would never forget her encounter with him and how he treated her.
If it were the case that Michael Brown did fight the officer and there was dash cam footage or some kind of audio, why wouldn't the Ferguson PD release that footage to put all of this turmoil to rest? What is more likely is that the witnesses are telling the truth as best as they know it, its lining up in a way that is more on the side of Michael Brown, the officer's story is not going to explain his excessive use of force and lack of judgment by putting everyone at risk in broad daylight, and they are waiting to figure out their story as details trickle out.
The Ferguson PD is required by law to release the incident report, and they have not released it this entire time despite the tremendous public outcry and events that have unfolded. I have never seen anything like what I am seeing on TV everyday. Does that not mean anything to anyone? This is HUGE. That is pretty much a screaming statement as to what they are doing in trying to cover things up and dilute the public opinion of Michael Brown, and you don't even have to take into account the fact that they released the robbery video despite the mayor and DOJ's concerns. Just the fact that they are withholding the incident report is enough to understand that something is not right.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
- Officer Wilson did not conduct himself professionally by any account, including his own. If he was in his car at the outset, he was not following protocol. He should have gotten out of his car when trying to confront Brown and his friend, and he should not have tried to grab Brown from his car. At the very least, this shows his lack of professionalism and brings up questions about his credibility.
- Officer Wilson did not need to use his gun. If he felt that his "life was threatened" as many cops in these shootings will claim as its the only thing that will get them off, then he has to explain why he used his gun after Michael supposedly went for his gun. The action of going for the officer's gun all but proves that Michael did not have a gun of his own. Every witness then saw him chase after Michael, and it is this point where he could have pulled out his taser and disabled Brown if he truly felt threatened. He chose to use deadly force, and shot more than 6 times at Michael Brown in broad daylight without any regard for surrounding civilians.
- Brown was shot at a distance as the forensics prove so far. This can change if gun residue is on his clothing, but we will not know that for a while. So we have to go with the witness statements, and they all say Brown was shot at a distance. I am choosing to believe multiple witnesses who saw it go down and say he was shot at a distance. You can choose to ignore this if you want and discount all witness accounts, but that is up to you. The fact that he was at a distance, and the fact that this officer should have known he had no weapon from Michael's supposed actions, proves that he was using unnecessary force. No matter how you look at it, you cannot really justify Wilson's use of deadly force.
- Officer Wilson did not know that Brown and his friend were involved in a robbery. This means that he stopped them for jay walking, and then escalated the situation, most likely due to his unprofessional behavior and manner of dealing with things from the car. I choose to believe the friend when he says Wilson told them to "Get the fuck on the sidewalk" because it lines up with the mace story previously, and is not out of character for him. It is also not out of character for the Ferguson PD when you hear stories of how they treated black residents time and time again. The fact that he would stop them for jay walking and then it ends up how it did has to be attributed to some degree to his lack of professionalism in some of his actions. He cannot escape blame in this regard.
We still have to wait for more facts to come out, but from everything I've seen and heard I cannot reasonably be on this officer's side, and using common sense I have to side with the witnesses so far. I have to give them and Michael Brown the benefit of the doubt. So far the only people I have seen on internet blogs who are on the side of the officer have pretty much all been non-black, middle aged or older individuals who I would guess have no real experience with the black community or black people in general.
Their comments show they want to assume the worst of black people, they want to assume Michael Brown had it coming somehow or deserved being gunned down, they want to assume despite all reason and logic (as proven by the way Ferguson PD conducts themselves and their history) that this officer had good reasons and intentions the entire time, they want to assume a lot that is just not very reasonable. If you do not know black people, if you are not involved in black culture beyond the surface, if you do not understand the complex issues of our justice system when it comes to minorities, especially black people, and how they are mistreated by police constantly, then please shut up and don't comment on black people.
Don't talk about black people as if you know what it's like, as if they are just complaining and not handling their own issues. The black community is even more critical of the issues in the black community than non-blacks understand. If you have never had to fear a police interaction, if you have never had a gun put in your face for no reason, or been questioned by police for no reason when walking down the street, or have been harassed by police for no reason for crimes you did not commit, you really have no reason to speak on the black experience with the law and there is really no way you can understand that very real fear. The fear of knowing when you encounter a police, they can say and do anything and you have very little say in that interaction. The fear that you cannot even stick up for your basic rights because it can be seen as "threatening" or any small action can be seen as causing the police to "fear for their life". One false move. One move to grab a wallet, or an ID can be misinterpreted, and then when you are gunned down, justified when the officer gets off with PAID leave.
I am sick and tired of seeing people spout false facts about crime when it comes to black people, about black culture and black people, all to justify this officer's actions. Black culture is beautiful and rich, black people contribute a lot to American culture and the world as a whole, and the vast majority of black people are hard-working, upstanding citizens. The black family is very extended, even more-so than white families, and black people have very strong values. If you only watch TV and or listen to music and that is how you learn about black people, then you will never realize this and you need to shut up about black people. Black people are not walking stereotypes that deserve scrutiny at every turn. Too many times people associate issues of poverty with black culture such as sagging pants, slang, crime, etc. That is an issue of poverty, not blackness. I've seen whites, asians, hispanics, etc. all exhibit those very same behaviors that many non-blacks will blame blacks for, but for some reason they are only attribute to black people and black culture when the reality is that is just an issue of class and poverty. The majority of black people are not like that, and deserve more respect in this country. Thankfully, for every ignorant non-black person I've seen in the comments there are 20 who are not and realize the complexities of what is going, so there is still some hope.
That is all I have to say.