In writing about any case that grabs the public’s attention and interest, there are normally several phases, at least from my perspective. I try to avoid writing about any controversy that others can cover more effectively. I don’t know everything about everything. But I do have some expertise in some areas, and when I think I have something to add that I’m not likely to see, or not seeing, in the media and through other commentators, I do what I can. Such was the case with Erik Scott, Jose Guerena, George Zimmerman and Darren Wilson.
The first phase has to do with gathering all available information, explaining what is likely and unlikely, and pointing out any anomalies–departures from proper rational, professional procedures and conclusions.
The next normally involves analysis of continuing developments, with the aim of clarifying and explaining concepts and behaviors that might be confusing to those not intimately familiar with the issues.
Sometimes, analysis of trials, criminal and civil, is necessary, and can become quite involved.
Finally, when things are more or less resolved in terms of trials, and public interest has begun to wane as other cases begin to suck the available oxygen out of the public interest balloon, I add an occasional update here and there when something of more than usual interest comes along. As the case winds its way through each phase, the number of people reading the updates diminishes, though upon occasion there is a flurry of revisiting a given update as people find it, other sites link to it, and/or word of mouth stirs up renewed interest. I find myself at that point in the Michael Brown case.
This update will focus on two issues: the latest Department of (In) Justice pronouncement on the case, and commentary on two specific witnesses that, according to the evidence, actually testified truthfully, and their impact on the decision of the Grand Jury.
EVERYBODY KNEW IT:
From, of all sources, the New York Times:
Justice Department lawyers will recommend that no civil rights charges be brought against the police officer involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., after an F.B.I. investigation found no evidence to support charges, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his civil rights chief, Vanita Gupta, will have the final say on whether the Justice Department will close the case against the officer, Darren Wilson. But it would be unusual for them to overrule the prosecutors on the case, who are still working on a legal memo explaining their recommendation.
A decision by the Justice Department would bring to an end the politically charged investigation of Mr. Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Missouri authorities concluded their investigation into Mr. Brown’s death in November and also recommended against charges.
Translation: The FBI not only found nothing to sustain federal charges, its review of the case almost certainly absolutely confirmed the findings of the primary investigators, and supported the verdict of the Grand Jury. The NYT continues:
The federal investigation did not uncover any facts that differed significantly from the evidence made public by the authorities in Missouri late last year, the law enforcement officials said. To bring federal civil rights charges, the Justice Department would have needed to prove that Officer Wilson had intended to violate Mr. Brown’s rights when he had opened fire and that he had done so willfully — meaning he knew that it was wrong to fire, but did so anyway.
The Justice Department plans to release a report explaining its decision, though it is not clear when. Dena Iverson, a department spokeswoman, declined to comment on the case Wednesday.
So, it’s over then, or at least will be soon? Not so fast. Remember the Trayvon Martin case? As I recently noted in update 42 of that case, the Washington Post recently wrote that the DOJ was admitting–two years later–that there was no evidence to bring charges against George Zimmerman, a case in which every bit of evidence was heard and Zimmerman was acquitted. But that doesn’t mean, for a second, the Obama Administration is willing to let go. In fact, the DOJ said:
On Wednesday [10-01-14], a spokeswoman for the Justice Department said the investigation ‘is active and ongoing.
A month earlier, AG Eric Holder publically claimed the investigation was ongoing. This is absolute nonsense.
There have been, for years, signs of conflict between the FBI and the Holder DOJ. No doubt, there are honest, professional men and women still working in the FBI, but the DOJ has been almost completely politicized with leftist radicals. There are surely honest men and women working in the DOJ, but as an organization, it has become a harassment and enforcement wing of the Obama White House.
Actual investigators know there is no evidence to support charges against George Zimmerman. Discovering that is a relatively rapid, simple matter. Each potential crime has elements. If each and every one of those elements can’t be proved, no rational investigator will recommend charges and no rational prosecutor will bring charges. In the Zimmerman case, it has been known, for years–Zimmerman was acquitted on July 13, 2013–there was no evidence to bring federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, yet Holder won’t let it go.
The same will almost surely be true in the case of Darren Wilson. Some elements of the federal government familiar with the case have declared there is no evidence to prosecute Wilson, but Holder will say nothing, just as he did for month after month in the Zimmerman case. But Holder will soon be replaced; what then? Won’t his replacement simply announce the case is over and move on like any rational prosecutor? Unlikely. Anyone replacing Eric Holder surely will be just like him, or worse, in terms of his adherence to rational, non-politicized administration of justice. The DOJ under President Obama has been far more interested in enacting leftist policy, punishing Mr. Obama’s political enemies and protecting administration figures that are clearly violating the law than in upholding the Constitution. There is no reason to imagine that he would do anything to change that state of affairs in his final two years in office.
Part of the reason that Holder and his successor will never let go of the case, surely, is that people like Holder delight in punishing their political enemies, or any of the little people that don’t think like them or run in their political and social circles. Holder understands that the process is the punishment, a punishment that continues to weigh heavily on Zimmerman and Wilson. Part of it is political. Barack Obama and Eric Holder must believe there remains some potential political advantage in pretending that they will prosecute Zimmerman and Wilson. And part of it is that Eric Holder and those like him are simply terrible, perhaps evil, people. They delight in using their power to harm others.
In the Michael Brown case, many of the witnesses were black, and on them fell a terrible burden. In an America where hard-working, prosperous, well and conventionally dressed and well-spoken black people are often accused of being inauthentic, of behaving like white people, and in a case where the narrative demanded not only “authentic” black behavior of everyone involved, but thuggish, leftist black behavior, telling the truth–countering the narrative–was a socially–and physically–dangerous thing to do. Yet a number of people did just that.
Remember that in this case, many of the witnesses not only committed blatant perjury, many, confronted with unequivocal evidence of their perjury obstinately stuck with their lies. This was not a case of subtle differences in interpretation, nuances depending on the turn of a phrase of the definition of obscure legal terms, but blatant, obvious, in some cases–such as the woman that tried to destroy her taped lies during an FBI interview–absurdly comical lies. I chronicled her antics in Update 10: Tactical Nuclear Witnesses. In virtually every case, before a witness testified before the grand jury, they gave statements to the St. Louis County Police and to the FBI, so the grand jury could compare their previous statements with their testimony. In many cases, there were glaring discrepancies.
Surely, the grand jury learned, and very rapidly, to sort out the liars and those telling the truth. Combine such lies with a body of physical evidence that absolutely contradicted the Narrative, and it is easy to understand how and why the jurors came to the inescapable and correct decision that under Missouri law Officer Darren Wilson was blameless.
Witness 10–I am presuming, based on his pattern of speech and word choice, he was black–is one of those obviously telling the truth. His comments are taken from the September 23, 2014 grand jury transcript, beginning on page 149 and continuing to page 210. Witness 10 was interviewed by the St. Louis County Police and the FBI before testifying before the grand jury, so the grand jury had those statements to compare with Witness 10’s testimony.
On the day of the shooting W10 was in the area, working. W10, at his parked car, saw Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson–accurately described in the transcript–walking on the street. Interestingly, he described Brown as wearing “bright neon yellow” socks with what appeared to be “marijuana symbols on them.” W10 also repeatedly spoke about how big Brown–who he did not know–was.
W10, whose car was parked quite closely to Wilson’s police vehicle–perhaps 20-25 yards–went back into the home where he was working, but a short time later, returned to his car and saw Wilson’s vehicle parked in the street at a “slight slant,” and:
I seen Mike Brown was leaned over inside the police officer’s window. I didn’t see Mr. Johnson at any moment during this time. [skip]
I just see Mr. Brown inside the police officer’s window. It appeared as some sort of confrontation was taking place. After that, that took place for seconds, I’m not sure how long. I know that it appeared that some confrontation was taking place.
And one shot, the first shot was let loose and after the first shot, Mike Brown came out of the window and took off running.
Already, W10 is directly contradicting the testimony of Dorian Johnson
With that happening, I thought instantly because the police officer didn’t immediately react on how I would have thought it would have went down. Where he didn’t immediately get out of his car and chase after Mike Brown.
So my initial thought was that wow, did I just witness this young guy kill a police officer.
This is the kind of moment that determines the outcome of a case. W10 cemented in the minds of the jurors, with that unbidden statement, the fact that Darren Wilson was in a life or death struggle, and could very well have been killed by Michael Brown.
So after that, Mike Brown ran some distance, the police officer exited his vehicle with his weapon drawn, pursuing Mike Brown, and I would say Mike Brown, he stopped right here. He was turning into this driveway right here, but he stopped right here.
The officer was already in pursuit of him. He stopped. He did turn, he [Brown] did some sort of body gesture, I’m not sure what it was, but I know it was a body gesture. And I could say for sure he never put his hands up after he did his body gesture. He ran towards the officer full charge.
The officer fired several shots at him and to give an estimate, I would say roughly around five to six shots was fired at Mike Brown.
Mike Brown was still coming towards the officer and at this point I’m thinking, wow, is this officer missing Mike Brown at this close of a range.
W10 is almost precisely corroborating Darren Wilson’s statement. Brown is not surrendering, not on his knees, not saying “don’t shoot,” but is, with deadly intent, charging Wilson.
Mike Brown continuously came forward in the charging motion and at some point, at one point, he started to slow down and he came to a stop. And when he stopped, that’s when the officer ceased fire and when he ceased fired, Mike Brown stated to charge once more at him. And he charged once more, the officer returned fire with, I would say, give an estimate of three to four shots. And that’s when Mike Brown finally collapsed right about even with this driveway. [skip]
…and when Mike Brown collapsed in the street, that’s when his friend came out, I don’t know what direction he came from. All I know is I seen him run across from in front of the squad car and he ran across and he stopped like evenly with the car that was parked right her and yelled ‘he just killed him, he just killed him.’
I’m not sure if he was speaking with the people that were in the car of if he knew them. He never leaned over to address them, he just yelled it. After he yelled it, he ran off through the back field of Canfield.
By all means, take the link and compare the statement of W10 to that of Dorian Johnson and see which you find more credible. There is no question that W10’s statement, given without interruption or clarification by the prosecutors, absolutely supported Wilson’s account, and perfectly comported with the physical evidence.
From that point, the prosecutor asked W10 to clarify their statement, which was even more devastating to the Narrative. W10 testified that Brown’s entire upper body was inside Wilson’s police car, just as Wilson testified, though W10 could not see exactly what was happening inside the car. As Brown immediately began to run after the gunshot, W10 did not see any blood on him, nor did Brown appear to be injured. This exchange is particularly interesting and would have had a significant impact on the jurors:
Q Do you know, I don’t want you to guess, other than maybe if you observed something that caused you to assume, but do you know why Mike Brown stopped and turned around?
A No, I’m not sure. That is something that I wrestle with to this day, I’m not sure. I’m not sure if he knew the people that was in that car and he thought maybe had time to go back to wrestle with this officer. To this day, why would he turn around and not give himself up.
Why indeed? W10 described Brown’s “body gesture” as “…a shoulder shrug or him pulling his pants up, I’m not sure.” This confirms Wilson’s observation of Brown reaching for his waistline.
W10 confirmed Wilson’s account of firing initial rounds as Brown charged, stopping as Brown stopped, and firing again as he charged Wilson for a second time. W10 also confirmed that Wilson ceased fire after Brown fell, which directly contradicted Johnson’s account of Wilson standing over the prostrate Brown and firing into his body.
W10’s testimony about the aftermath of the shooting was fascinating and horrifying. A crowd gathered quickly and in an ugly mood, began to build the narrative of Brown being shot with his hands up and trying to surrender, and were actively hostile toward W10, who left for his own safety.
That’s because that’s the way I felt at that time because with everybody down there feeling like, hey, he had his hands up. A lot of people didn’t see what actually went down and what I saw.
So I then turned and walked back towards [omitted text in the transcript] and that’s when they started to yell racial slurs at me and it was just, it was just ignorant.
I felt uncomfortable, I fully felt uncomfortable when I actually did go forward to the police station because, um, I first called in Sunday after I seen all the rioting. I just felt bad about the situation.
This too would have been convincing and persuasive to the jury:
I knew that I needed to come forward to let the truth be told. And after seeing the rioting, I called St. Louis County Police, I just called the 911 and they took down my information and, um, Monday morning I just felt like it wasn’t, I was just going to be pushed to the side. So I felt like I needed to do more.
I called Ferguson Police Department, I had to leave a message there and I still wasn’t settled about it.
So I went down to the police station and I felt uncomfortable then just walking past all the protesting that was going on, but I knew it was the right thing to do. It is an unfortunate situation, but I know God put me in this situation for a reason. [skip]
I came forward to bring closure to the family and also for the police officer because, um, with me knowing actually what happened, um, and I know it is going to be a hard case and a hard thing to prove with so many people that’s saying the opposite of what I actually seen. I just wanted to bring closure to the family not thinking that hey, this is, they got away with murdering my son.
I do know that there is corruption in some police departments and I believe that this was not the case. And I just wanted to bring closure to the family.
W10 is something of an anomaly. It is not every day that the police come across a witness that saw virtually everything with such clarity and in such detail that their testimony perfectly reflects the physical evidence and the testimony of the officer involved. This is even more remarkable in that W10’s testimony remained consistent throughout every statement, and was given long before the public knew any of the details of Wilson’s testimony. Even if W10 were lying, trying to support Wilson, he surely would have gotten some of it wrong. He did not.
Considering the quality and credibility of the witnesses trying to support the Narrative, W10’s testimony alone could have carried the day, but W10 was not the only credible witness.
Witness 30 was in a vehicle with his wife, about 2 blocks from the shooting, behind Darren Wilson, so he saw Brown roughly from Wilson’s perspective, though at substantial distance. He did not see the confrontation in Wilson’s vehicle and his attention was drawn to the action only after hearing Wilson’s original group of shots. His statements come from the transcript of his August 13, 2014 statement with the St. Louis County Police.
W30 initially thought Brown was pointing a gun at Wilson. He was incorrect in this, but right in Brown’s threatening, aggressive posture toward Wilson. He saw Brown running away from Wilson, and saw him turn back. He thought Brown might have been shot in the leg “the way he staggered…” before turning. W30 believed Wilson fired one shot while Brown was running away from him.
W30’s impression was that Brown was walking, rather than running, back toward Wilson, but he was certain Brown never had his hands raised, particularly not in surrender. He was certain that Brown was in the middle of the road. He was also certain that Brown was about to shoot at Wilson, and that if he missed, he was directly in the line of Brown’s fire.
This exchange, near the end of the interview, is particularly interesting and bolsters W30’s credibility:
DET. Uh…what…uh what made you decide to…to talk to us about this today?
[W30] My wife and I discussed it, and…look…I’m a felon…I…I…I…don’t have any love for the police. But…(chuckles)…
[W30] I…I…I…I don’t like you guys.
DET. Well, that’s fine.
[W30] But…what I saw…to me…appeared to be an officer taking down a gun man, in a crowded residential neighborhood…and…befo…before somebody else got hurt.
[W30] And…to me…the man was just doing his job.
[W30] And…all this hoopla and bullshit…is…is…is…most…most…most of the people that are doing this shit weren’t there. Don’t know nobody involved. Ain’t got no connection to it. They just want a reason to jump on the bandwagon and act crazy.
This unrestrained admission would have the effect of making W30’s testimony more credible. He is a convicted felon who hates the police, but felt compelled to speak because he didn’t think the truth was being told.
His testimony wasn’t nearly as accurate as that of W10, but it supported Wilson’s statement in most important details–W30 was two blocks away–and didn’t support the Narrative at all. It also did not contradict the physical evidence. This statement too would have been far more credible than 20 statements of those trying to support the Narrative.
I could easily summarize the testimony of many more witnesses, but I trust the point has been made. The witnesses that supported Officer Wilson’s statement made their statements before they knew the details of his. While there were some minor inconsistencies or omissions/additions in some of them, they were of the sort one always finds over time and multiple statements taken by different people. They were not substantive and did not obscure the truth.
The statements of these witnesses were also supported by the physical evidence. Again, in most cases, they were not aware of the physical evidence before making their statements.
The demeanor and manner of witnesses presenting themselves to the grand jury must always be considered in determining witness credibility. Obviously, those witnesses supporting Wilson’s account were, in this way, also far more credible than those that supported the Narrative, which must surely have been seen to be obviously false early in the proceedings.
Based on the statements of the most credible witnesses, based on the physical evidence, and based on the law, there was only one proper outcome of the grand jury investigation. That proper outcome was delivered.