The LA Times reporter, Javier Panzar on 12/27/14 writes that Police Officer, Timothy Zoll, a Ferguson police department’s public relation’s spokesman has been placed on unpaid leave pending a disciplinary review. It seems that a Washington Post reporter, Jose A. DelReal had contacted his office for a comment regarding the story that a motorist had deliberately driven through Michael Brown’s memorial. Officer Zoll responded with the following comment, “I don’t know that a crime has occurred… but a pile of trash in the middle of the street? The Washington Post is making a call over this?”
Timothy Zoll originally attempted to continue to lie to his superiors about his alleged comments until an internal investigation proved otherwise.
The memorial was a collection of flowers, stuffed animals, balloons and other mementoes which had grown overtime on Canfield Road near the location where Michael Brown was shot by Police Officer Darren Wilson on 8/9/14. After the memorial was destroyed, the residents have simply started to rebuild a new one.
The Ferguson Police Chief has issued a statement indicating that Officer Zoll did not speak for the entire Ferguson Police department when he issued his racist, insensitive comments. Unfortunately, the police chief is now in the untenable position of trying to put the genie of racism having permeated the halls within his department for many years, back into the bottle.
The off the cuff racist and demeaning remarks disclosed by a Ferguson Police Department spokesperson to a major newspaper reporter, says it all and is simply emblematic of a police division which has a history of fostering racism by their police officers.
In my mind, the Ferguson Police Department and the judicial system headed by Robert McCulloch are complicit in whatever happened on 8/9/2014. The Ferguson PD was managed by those who either turned a blind eye to pernicious racism within the ranks to where they were active participants in fostering it. The prosecutor, Robert McCulloch enabled this dysfunctional police department to continue, unchecked.
Unfortunately, thoughts such as those voiced by the Nashville Police Chief, Steve Anderson would have probably been rebuffed by Ferguson’s Chief. I referenced this excerpt from a 12/28/14 Mr.MilitantNegro’s blog who reprinted this email from “Where is Humanity.”
This is a note from a local Nashville resident about protestors in the area and it is followed up by a response from Chief Anderson:
“These actions are putting the department at disharmony from the majority of the citizens.”
“While I don’t doubt that you sincerely believe that your thoughts represent the majority of citizens, I would ask you to consider the following before you chisel those thoughts in stone.
As imperfect humans, we have a tendency to limit our association with other persons to those persons who are most like us. Unfortunately, there is even more of a human tendency to stay within our comfort zone by further narrowing those associations to those persons who share our thoughts and opinions. By doing this we can avoid giving consideration to thoughts and ideas different than our own. This would make us uncomfortable. By considering only the thoughts and ideas we are in agreement with, we stay in our comfort zone. Our own biases get reinforced and reflected back at us leaving no room for any opinion but our own. By doing this, we often convince ourselves that the majority of the world shares opinion and that anyone with another opinion is, obviously, wrong.
It is only when we go outside that comfort zone, and subject ourselves to the discomfort of considering thoughts we don’t agree with, that we can make an informed judgment on any matter. We can still disagree and maintain our opinions, but we can now do so knowing that the issue has been given consideration from all four sides. Or, if we truly give fair consideration to all points of view, we may need to swallow our pride and amend our original thoughts.
And, it is only by giving consideration to the thoughts of all persons, even those that disagree with us, that we can have an understanding as to what constitutes a majority.”
This is the background stage which set off the events which occurred on 8/9/14 when an unarmed, Black older teenager, Michael Brown at 18 years old was fatally shot by the White Police Officer, Darren Wilson.
This is what I believed happened on that fateful mid day of 8/9/14 when Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson met up with Police Officer Darren Wilson while they were walking east towards their respective apartments located on Canfield Rd in Ferguson Missouri.
Both woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Michael had a heated interaction with his grandmother while she was in the hospital and he was worried about her. Police Officer, Darren Wilson was in a serious relationship, planning to be married. Since relationship conflicts are simply a rite of passage for most young couples, he was probably experiencing some stress himself. He did marry a fellow police officer in October, 2014.
On 8/9/2014, Michael Brown did shoplift from a convenient store, about $15.00 worth of cigarillos as per St. Louis County PD police report #14-43984. Now, I was reminded by the Mr.MilitantNegro blog about an incident from 5 years ago. The Harvard student, privileged daughter of the then New York’s Mayor Rudy Giuliani was caught shop lifting $100 worth of make up from a Sephora’s store. She was arrested; charged with petty larceny and served one day in community service as a consequence. In comparison, it does not seem to me that Michael Brown deserved the death penalty for his indiscretion.
To be fair, and after a lot of research, I am convinced that Police Officer Darren Wilson was not aware of the of the petty theft at the time he initially confronted Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson walking in the middle of Canfield Rd.
Officer Wilson had been assigned to assist a Mother with a sick child situation at 11:47 a.m. Around noon, he was finished with this call and he was probably listening to his favorite country western radio station while alternately making contact via radio with the police dispatcher. He was beginning to feel hungry to where he started to think about what to eat as he traveled west on Canfield Rd. This is when he first noticed two young men sundering single file in the middle of the road.
When Officer Wilson initially shouted at the two young men to move from the middle of the road to the sidewalk, Big Mike’s friend, Dorian Johnson responded that they were less than a minute from their final destination. Then Officer Wilson drove off heading west when he probably looked in his rear view mirror, just to observe them still walking in the street’s center line. He decided to revisit this issue when he quickly reversed his SUV to cut in front of the two young men. This police SUV maneuvering was loud enough that people could hear the tires screeching from quite a distance.
There was a witness who was sure that the officer had run over Michael Brown’s foot with the SUV. In any event, a part of the SUV came into very close contact with him, probably hitting him. This would explain Michael Brown’ agitated state when he approached SUV’s driver’s side with the window lowered, to complain.
This is when heated words were exchanged between Michael Brown and Police Officer Darren Wilson while a struggle ensued with Michael Brown remaining outside the SUV the entire time and Officer Wilson sitting inside. Michael Brown was desperately trying to separate himself from being held by officer Wilson. Michael Brown did not at any time, attempt to reach for the officer’s gun, but Officer Wilson did. At this point Officer Wilson is so riled up that his anger coupled with his disgust with this big Black, young man based on racism, acted accordingly.
Officer Wilson retrieved his gun from his holster and he shot Michael Brown in his right hand. Michael Brown looks down at his hand in shock. Then out of shear panic, he runs eastward. Officer Wilson is now enraged as he notices blood on his hands, clothes and gun. At this point, Officer Wilson is fuming as he exits his SUV to pursue Michael Brown with his gun aimed at back of Michael Brown as he pursues his suspect. He does fire a shot or shots which either missed or hit the back dorsal arm of Michael Brown.
This is when I pause to ask the common sense question, would Michael Brown who was successfully running away from someone who had just shot him as he was in fear of his life, then turn around for no good reason to face Officer Wilson, unless he either heard gun fire or was shot in the back part of his arm or some other body part?
Michael Brown did turn around slowly as he attempted to raise his arms as high as he could which was at shoulder level with his palms exposed so that Officer Wilson could see he had nothing. Eventually, he kept quickly staggering forward towards Officer Wilson to try to keep from falling.
Tragically, officer Wilson was incapable of putting aside his fear of Michael Brown, based on racial animus which had not been tempered by his police training. While Police Officer Darren Wilson, saw someone menacing and big in appearance, charging towards him with an indescribable look on his face , others saw him clutching his chest as he was trying to raise a hand when he was absolutely no threat to Officer Wilson. As he quickly stumbled forward, trying not to fall, Officer Wilson reacted by shooting Michael Brown several times until all bullets had been discharged from his gun with the exception of one bullet still in the chamber. A witness tweeted at 12:03 p.m. that he had just witnessed someone being fatally shot. The ShotSpotter analysis of gunshot fire in the background captured by a local resident using his smartphone with glide technology, places the time of the shooting at 12:02:14 p.m. The St. Louis County PD report #14-43984, page 1, places the time of death at 12:02 p.m.
I will present the rest of the story in a follow up blog, part II.